Ketamine as a rapid antidepressant has been replicated in numerous studies. More recently, ketamine has been shown to help patients with obsessive compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-refractory anxiety disorder (TRA disorder). However, some patients reported a recurrence of depressive or anxiety symptoms after a single treatment. This recurrence of symptoms leads to the question: How long can patients’ symptoms improve with repeated ketamine dosing in anxiety?
Researchers in New Zealand investigated the safety and efficacy of ketamine in subjects with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders. For three months, 20 subjects received one or two injections of ketamine weekly. How often the subjects received doses was based on how long the effects of ketamine lasted for each individual. Subjects who were free from anxiety symptoms five days or longer were dosed once a week. Those who experienced relief four days or less were dosed twice a week.
The main finding of this study is that most subjects’ symptoms were alleviated for three months with treatment. Subjects tolerated the ketamine treatment well and reported significant improvement in social and work functioning. Patients reported no signs of bladder cystitis or memory problems. Most subjects had dealt with anxiety since a young age, and the treatment helped them to function better in way they hadn’t experienced for years.
Glue, P., Neehoff, S. M., Medlicott, N. J., Gray, A., Kibby, G., & Mcnaughton, N. (2018). Safety and efficacy of maintenance ketamine treatment in patients with treatment-refractory generalised anxiety and social anxiety disorders. Journal of Psychopharmacology,32(6), 663-667. doi:10.1177/0269881118762073