Intravenous Ketamine for PTSD

Intravenous Ketamine for PTSD

Intravenous Ketamine for PTSD

According to the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, eight million Americans will experience PTSD annually. Seven percent of the population will have PTSD in their lifetime. It can occur after witnessing or directly encountering a shocking or dangerous event including the following.

  • Combat-related and other military experiences
  • Sexual, physical assault or abuse
  • Awareness of a violent act, accidental death or injury of a close individual
  • Serious injury, medical procedure, or accident to self
  • Natural, environmental disasters and terrorist attacks

PTSD symptoms that last longer than a few months, disrupt daily living, and may include reliving a trauma event, situational avoidance, increased negative thoughts of feelings, hyper-arousal and engaging in unhealthy behaviors.

While the veteran population is at a greater risk (one in eight), anyone with a history of trauma in their lives may develop this mental health condition. Ten in 100 women, four in 100 men will experience PTSD.

Ketamine’s role in the treatment of PTSD

PTSD is a chronic, disabling condition that until recently had limited success with pharmaceutical intervention. JAMA Psychiatry’s June 2014 published findings on the efficacy of intravenous ketamine for the treatment of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder.

The trial

Location – Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York)

Number of participants – 41

Type of Study – Randomized crossover. In random order, moderate to severe chronic PTSD patients receive an intravenous placebo (non-active infusion), ketamine, and benzodiazepine midazlolam separately over a given period of time. Neither the participant or researchers are aware the order of each infusion.

The results

  • Ketamine infusion was associated with clinically significant and rapid reduction in core PTSD symptoms
  • Ketamine was associated with reduction in depressive symptoms and improvement in overall clinical presentation
  • Ketamine superiorly outperformed benzodiazepine midazolam and the placebo
  • Ketamine was deemed safe and well-tolerated

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