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Rapid infusion of esketamine for unipolar and bipolar depression: a retrospective chart review

Authors Correia-Melo FS, Argolo FC, Araújo-de-Freitas L, Leal GC, Kapczinski F, Lacerda AL, Quarantini LC

Received 1 March 2017

Accepted for publication 9 May 2017

Published 21 June 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 1627—1632


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Fernanda S Correia-Melo,1 Felipe C Argolo,1 Lucas Araújo-de-Freitas,1,2 Gustavo Carneiro Leal,1 Flávio Kapczinski,3 Acioly Luiz Lacerda,4 Lucas C Quarantini1,2

1Psychiatry Service, University Hospital, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil; 2Postgraduate Program in Medicine and Health, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Brazil; 3Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil; 4Department of Psychiatry, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil

Background: This study evaluated efficacy and safety of intravenous subanesthetic doses of esketamine using an administration time of 10 minutes in patients with treatment-resistant depression and bipolar depression.
Methods: A retrospective chart review was conducted to identify patients who met the inclusion criteria for treatment-resistant depression and bipolar depression according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision criteria, and these patients received rapid infusion of esketamine between June 2012 and December 2015. The Montgomery–Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) was administered to measure and score depressive symptom severity before infusion and at 24 hours, 72 hours, and 7 days after infusion. In addition, Clinical Global Impression scale was administered before and 7 days after esketamine infusion.
Results: Esketamine was administered to 30 patients. A total of 27 patients met the inclusion criteria and had MADRS evaluation data, which showed that 23 had unipolar and 4 had bipolar depression. Thirteen patients (48.1%) showed therapeutic response (MADRS reduction ≥50%) within 1 week (7 days) of intervention. Remission (MADRS <7) was observed in 10 patients (37.0%) in the same period. Therapeutic response and remission frequencies were seen in 16 (59.3%) and 11 (40.7%) patients, respectively, within 24 hours following drug infusion. The most relevant side effect observed during the esketamine infusion was dissociative symptoms ranging from mild to severe, which was reported by 11.1% of patients as a very disturbing experience.
Limitations: This study was done retrospectively, had a small sample size, and there was no comparative group.
Conclusion: The present study demonstrates that rapid infusion of esketamine is possibly not the optimal choice to administer this drug for treatment-resistant depression due to tolerability reasons. Further controlled studies are required to investigate efficacy, safety, and tolerability profiles among the different types of ketamines and methods of using this drug in depressed patients.

Keywords: tolerability, S-(+)-ketamine, treatment-resistant depression, dissociative symptoms, efficacy, safety

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