Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), is considered the most effective treatment for severe treatment resistant major depressive disorder (MDD), but it requires about 3 weeks of treatments and can cause considerable acute deficits in memory. It would be a major advance in treatment if ECT could work faster with fewer treatments and result in decrease incidence of memory problems. Ketamine is an excellent candidate for augmentation of ECT because of its acute effects on depression, its short half-life, and its safety profile when given at low doses. Ketamine is given as an infusion and could easily be incorporated into the routine management of patients undergoing ECT, but has never been evaluated prospectively in this context.
The investigators propose to assess the efficacy, feasibility, tolerability and safety of N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist augmentation of ECT using ketamine.
Trial DetailsAim #1: To assess the efficacy of ketamine augmentation in reducing time to remission of a major depressive episode (MDE). Aim #2: To assess the efficacy of ketamine augmentation on ECT-related cognitive side effects. Aim #3: To assess the feasibility, safety, and tolerability of ketamine augmentation of ECT. Exploratory aim #4: We propose to assess the patterns of functional connectivity before, during and after ECT using standard clinical EEG to better characterize the effect of ECT and to correlate clinical effects with changes in EEG measurements. Thirty (30) participants will be recruited over 24 months. Participants will be males and females, ages 18-60, with severe MDD (baseline score HAM_D-28 >= 20) deemed appropriate for ECT treatment by their treating physician, agreeing to receive ECT treatment as part of their clinical care, and able to provide informed consent. Exclusion criteria are any other DSM-IV primary diagnoses including major depressive disorder with psychotic features, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, any history of psychosis, substance use disorder (abuse or dependence with active use within the last 6 months), and any lifetime history of ketamine abuse or dependence, organic mental disorders, seizure disorder or chronic antiepileptic medications, severe or unstable medical illness, pregnancy. Study procedures: eligible patients will be randomized to a double-blind administration of ketamine (0.5 mg/kg) or saline before the first three ECT treatments. Right Unilateral ECT (RUL-ECT) will be administered at 6 times the seizure threshold, using the d'Elia placement of the electrodes. Electroconvulsive therapy will be given 3 times per week, as per standard of care at MGH. Depression severity will be assessed weekly with the HAM-D 28 (the main outcome measure), administered by a clinician blinded to randomization. The neuropsychological assessment battery is designed to include instruments sensitive to the cognitive impairment associated with depression in general and ECT treatment in particular will be repeated at baseline, at the end of acute treatment series and at 3 months follow-up. Also patients will undergo repeated EEG monitoring, at baseline after one week of treatment and at follow up with the aim of possibly identifying EEG features associated with response.
NCT Number NCT01260649
Sponsors & CollaboratorsMassachusetts General Hospital
Massachusettes General Hospital has launched the MGH Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics. The announcement has now been done via YouTube, and the formal launch will be in fall 2020.
Measures UsedHamilton Depression Rating Scale
The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) is a multiple item questionnaire used to provide an indication of depression, and as a guide to evaluating recovery. The scale consists of 17 items which each item being scoring on a 3 or 5 point scale. The higher the score, the more likely a person is depressed.