Study Name: The Antidepressant Action of Ketamine: Brain Chemistry
Principal Investigator: Matthew S. Milak, M.D.
Purpose of Study: Preliminary studies report that a single intravenous low dose of the experimental antidepressant ketamine may markedly improve depression within hours, even in patients who did not improve with other antidepressants. This study will use a type of MRI scan to examine how antidepressant effects of ketamine are related to changes of important brain chemicals. Study volunteers participate in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study with several different doses of ketamine and MRI scans to measure key brain chemicals before and during ketamine treatment. We will be comparing brain scans from this study between individuals suffering from depression and volunteers without depression.
Treatment Offered: Participants receive a ketamine infusion during an MRI scan to measure the effects of the drug on key brain chemicals. Ketamine is given in different doses to help determine the optimal dose. Participants are offered up to 6 months of standard antidepressant medication treatment in our clinic after the ketamine infusion(s). During this time, patients will be responsible for the cost of the conventional antidepressants, but all doctors’ visits will be free of charge. We enroll individuals suffering from depression as well as volunteers without depression. Volunteers without depression will receive one dose of ketamine during an MRI scan.
Eligibility: Currently depressed; no history of other major psychiatric illnesses; 18-65 years old.
Funding: National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)