Sarah Brand

Sarah Brand

Ketamine as a Novel Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Depression: A Systematic Review and Quantitative Meta-Analysis.

Lee EE, Della Selva MP, Liu A, Himelhoch S. Ketamine as a novel treatment for major depressive disorder and bipolar depression: a systematic review and quantitative meta-analysis. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2015 Mar-Apr;37(2):178-84. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2015.01.003. Epub 2015 Jan 15. PMID: 25698228.


  • Quantitative meta-analysis of six randomized placebo-controlled trials conducted in September 2013 of ketamine treatment for patients with major depressive disorder or bipolar depression.
  • The results of this meta-analysis signify that ketamine has a significant impact on depressive symptoms in subjects with MDD and BPAD at 1 day and 7 days postinfusion.
  • Although these findings are consistent with previous results in suggesting that ketamine treatment is associated with a large and significant antidepressant effect at 24 h postinfusion, the results of this meta-analysis may be: (a) more reliable, as our results used data provided directly from study authors of manuscripts.


The quantitative meta-analysis showed that ketamine significantly reduced depressive symptoms. The overall effect size at day 1 was large and statistically significant with an overall standardized mean difference of 1.01 (95% confidence interval 0.69-1.34) (P<.001), with the effects sustained at 7 days post infusion. The heterogeneity of the studies was low and not statistically significant, and the funnel plot showed no publication bias.


The large and statistically significant effect of ketamine on depressive symptoms supports a promising, new and effective pharmacotherapy with rapid onset, high efficacy and good tolerability.

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