Roger S. McIntyre, M.D., Joshua D. Rosenblat, M.D., M.Sc., Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., Gerard Sanacora, M.D., Ph.D., James W. Murrough, M.D., Ph.D., Michael Berk, Ph.D., M.B.B.Ch., Elisa Brietzke, M.D., Ph.D., Seetal Dodd, Ph.D., Philip Gorwood, M.D., Ph.D., Roger Ho, M.D., M.B.B.S., Dan V. Iosifescu, M.D., Carlos Lopez Jaramillo, M.D., Ph.D., Siegfried Kasper, M.D., Kevin Kratiuk, B.Pharm., Jung Goo Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Yena Lee, H.B.Sc., Leanna M.W. Lui, Rodrigo B. Mansur, M.D., Ph.D., George I. Papakostas, M.D., Mehala Subramaniapillai, M.Sc., Michael Thase, M.D., Eduard Vieta, M.D., Ph.D., Allan H. Young, M.Phil., M.B.Ch.B., Carlos A. Zarate Jr., M.D., Stephen Stahl, M.D., Ph.D.
Published Online:17 Mar 2021 https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20081251
Replicated international studies have underscored the human and societal costs associated with major depressive disorder. Despite the proven efficacy of monoamine-based antidepressants in major depression, the majority of treated individuals fail to achieve full syndromal and functional recovery with the index and subsequent pharmacological treatments. Ketamine and esketamine represent pharmacologically novel treatment avenues for adults with treatment-resistant depression. In addition to providing hope to affected persons, these agents represent the first non-monoaminergic agents with proven rapid-onset efficacy in major depressive disorder. Nevertheless, concerns remain about the safety and tolerability of ketamine and esketamine in mood disorders. Moreover, there is uncertainty about the appropriate position of these agents in treatment algorithms, their comparative effectiveness, and the appropriate setting, infrastructure, and personnel required for their competent and safe implementation. In this article, an international group of mood disorder experts provides a synthesis of the literature with respect to the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of ketamine and esketamine in adults with treatment-resistant depression. The authors also provide guidance for the implementation of these agents in clinical practice, with particular attention to practice parameters at point of care. Areas of consensus and future research vistas are discussed.
Keywords: ketamine, esketamine, treatment resistant depression, McIntyre