Published online by Cambridge University Press: 10 December 2020
Patients unsuccessfully treated by neurostimulation may represent a highly intractable subgroup of depression. While the efficacy of intravenous (IV) ketamine has been established in patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), there is an interest to evaluate its effectiveness in a subpopulation with a history of neurostimulation.
This retrospective, posthoc analysis compared the effects of four infusions of IV ketamine in 135 (x̄ = 44 ± 15.4 years of age) neurostimulation-naïve patients to 103 (x̄ = 47 ± 13.9 years of age) patients with a history of neurostimulation. The primary outcome evaluated changes in depression severity, measured by the Quick Inventory for Depression Symptomatology-Self Report 16-Item (QIDS-SR16). Secondary outcomes evaluated suicidal ideation (SI), anxiety severity, measured by the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-Item (GAD-7), and consummatory anhedonia, measured by the Snaith–Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS).
Following four infusions, both cohorts reported a significant reduction in QIDS-SR16 Total Score (F (4, 648) = 73.4, P < .001), SI (F (4, 642) = 28.6, P < .001), GAD-7 (F (2, 265) = 53.8, P < .001), and SHAPS (F (2, 302) = 45.9, P < .001). No between-group differences emerged. Overall, the neurostimulation-naïve group had a mean reduction in QIDS-SR16 Total Score of 6.4 (standard deviation [SD] = 5.3), whereas the history of neurostimulation patients reported a 4.3 (SD = 5.3) point reduction.
IV ketamine was effective in reducing symptoms of depression, SI, anxiety, and anhedonia in both cohorts in this large, well-characterized community-based sample of adults with TRD.