A Review on the Efficacy of Ketamine Compared to Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients with Severe Depression
Severe depression, often referred to as major depressive disorder (MDD), is a ubiquitous disease that affects every aspect of life including psychosocial and physical health. It is chronic and characterized by anhedonia, altered sleep patterns, anxiety, a sense of worthlessness and hebetude. Current treatment options for MDD have proven to be only partially effective, and in many cases not effective at all. A more recent treatment option to combat severe depression has been the focus of many studies in the recent years, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, Ketamine. Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic that has commonly been used as a general anesthetic; playing an important role in procedural sedation. The past decade, Ketamine has been the center of attention in depression research and considered a likely adversary to the gold standard treatment, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). ECT is commonly used in patients with severe depression that have not responded to other treatment; it involves electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. The purpose of this evidenced-based practice review is to compare the effects of Ketamine and ECT on patients suffering with severe depression, and to glean out the more effective treatment modality. Nurses and other health care providers can use this information to better understand the treatment options for severely depressive patients as well as assist in choosing the effective, safer treatment option for each individual.