Comparative Effect of Intravenous Ketamine and Electroconvulsive Therapy in Major Depression: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Behavioral Sciences Research Centre, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of psychiatry, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 School of Medicine, Azad University of Iran, Najafabad Unite, Najafabad, Iran


Background: Achieving a rapid onset and durable methods of treatment for major depressive disorders is an issue pursuing in psychiatry. This study was designed to assess the therapeutic efficacy of intravenous (IV) ketamine injection in controlling depressive symptoms in comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in major depressed disordered patients. Materials and Methods: Thirty-two patients over 18 years of age who were candidates for ECT were enrolled in the study. They were allocated into two groups using block design randomization. Sixteen patients received IV infusion of 0.5-mg/kg ketamine and 16 patients underwent a bitemporal ECT. To evaluate the changes in depression severity, researchers administered Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) at baseline, before each treatment session, and four time points posttreatment (week 1 and months 1, 2, and 3). The Wechsler Memory Scale was used to evaluate the cognitive state of patients in week 1, month 1, and month 3 of the treatment. Results: The HDRS showed improvement in depressive symptoms in both the groups with no statistically significant difference. Cognitive state was more favorable (but not significant) in the ketamine group (P > 0.5). Conclusion: Treatment with IV ketamine in depressed people has the same antidepressant effects as ECT treatment without any memory deficiency.


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