Ask the Doctor: “Ketamine for Depression: Progress and Pitfalls” with Dr. Cristina Cusin, M.D.

May. 15, 2017

 

Dr. Cusin addresses Ketamine,* an anesthetic drug that in very small doses has been shown to relieve symptoms of depression within hours—even in patients who did not improve with other treatments. In this presentation, we briefly review the literature from clinical trials supporting the efficacy of ketamine for patients with Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Depression. 

We then review the numerous limitations of current knowledge and future lines of research on the effects of ketamine. An interactive Q&A follows.

 

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Dr. Cristina Cusin is the Director of Translational Studies in Depression at MGH and is Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is originally from Milan, Italy where she obtained her Medical Degree and after moving to U.S. she completed the residency program in Psychiatry at MGH/McLean in Boston. 

Dr. Cusin's clinical and research interests are focused on the most severe and difficult to treat forms of depression. She performs consultations for patients with treatment-resistant depression and bipolar disorder. She has specific expertise in psychopharmacology and in device-based therapies including ECT, VNS, DBS. She is the Director of the MGH Ketamine clinic for treatment-resistant depression and she is the primary investigator in research studies on the use of ketamine at MGH.  

 

* Please note that Ketamine has not been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression 

Comments
Jane Leach
My son has suffered from severe depression, anxiety, mood disorder (BiPolar 2) , and OCD. When he was 5 years old he had a small benign tumor (size of a walnut) removed from his brain. It was so early in his life that we don't know if his mood instability was from birth or after the tumor removal. He has been to several treatment centers, has had several psychiatrist and psychologists and has been on many many medicines. He is currently 24 and still severely depressed. He so wants to be happy and normal and in hearing about Ketamine it looks to possibly be something he could try. I am very interested in seeing if he would be a candidate for Ketamine treatment. We live in Kansas City but my husband works for a small Pharmaceutical company in Boston and our insurance is BCBS of Massachusetts and our son is covered to go to McLean. Does McLean do Ketamine infusions? What are your thoughts?
1/7/2018 3:57:56 PM

Beth
Thanks for all the input and sharing. I am 63, and am struggling with BP depression...Have not been in counseling for 17 years, until now. Am searching for a med change...have been on Cymbalta all this time, doesn't work anymore....Ideas?
12/31/2017 4:41:53 PM

Alice Worcester
Is Ketamine what Michael Jackson's doctor administered before death?
12/14/2017 12:30:43 PM

nedra gilco
I'm intrigued also. How will it be dispensed? PO, IM IV? Will it be approved? What about Biplors with impulsive manic SX?
11/16/2017 11:59:01 PM

Maria Ginsbourg
What dosage is recommended? Too much can cause out-of-body and illusory, which I hear is not pleasant.
11/16/2017 9:33:00 AM

Ann
How soon will Ketamine be available for those who nothing has helped and is desperate to get relief from panic and OCD?
11/9/2017 2:11:33 PM