Ketamine Infusion Therapy for PTSD – Results of an Important New Study

A recent study[1] published in the January 5, 2021 American Journal of Psychiatry by Dr. Adriana Feder and her team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai was the first randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial of repeated ketamine infusions for chronic PTSD.

67% of those in the ketamine group responded after 6 infusions, compared to only 20% of those getting the placebo study drug. And even more exciting was that those who received ketamine infusions experienced significant improvements across 3 of the 4 PTSD symptom clusters: intrusions, avoidance, and negative alterations in cognitions and mood.

This study confirmed our clinical experience of dramatic success using Ketamine infusion therapy to treat PTSD. And remember, as per our discussion on this page, adding KAP (Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy) results in even better outcomes for PTSD patients overall.

The National Institute of Mental Health defines Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event”. PTSD symptoms can include but are not limited to nightmares, flashbacks, frightening thoughts, hyperarousal, and avoidance of anything or anyone that serves as a reminder of the event. Symptoms usually show up within 3 months following the traumatizing event, but can also begin years afterward. PTSD symptoms can severely disrupt a person’s quality of life, interfering with his/her ability to maintain relationships and employment.

Previously, in 2014, Dr Feder published a landmark study of Ketamine infusion therapy for chronic PTSD, looking at single infusions. And in 2008, in The Journal of TRAUMA Injury, Infection, and Critical Care published research[2] that suggested a correlation between ketamine and PTSD in burned service members. The researchers looked retrospectively at medications that were used in the surgery of burned service members, and measured their PTSD symptoms. 119 soldiers had received low doses of ketamine during surgery, while 28 did not receive ketamine. The prevalence of PTSD was significantly lower for the soldiers who had received perioperative ketamine than for those who did not receive ketamine.

1A Randomized Controlled Trial of Repeated Ketamine Administration for Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

2The correlation between ketamine and posttraumatic stress disorder in burned service members.

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