The Impact of Ketamine for Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analyses

Dakota J. Sicignano, Ryan Kurschner, Nissen Weisman, Ava Sedensky, Adrian V. Hernandez, C. Michael White*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: Ketamine has been used in anesthesia, pain management, and major depressive disorder. It has recently been studied in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Objective: To determine the impact of ketamine on PTSD symptomatology and depression scores. Methods: We conducted a literature search of Medline 1960 to May 20, 2023, and found 6 randomized controlled trials that met our inclusion criteria. We extracted data on the Clinician-Administered PTSD (CAPS), PTSD Checklist (PCL), or Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating (MADRS) scales. Results: The use of ketamine significantly reduced CAPS scores (n = 5, MD: −10.63 [95% CI −14.95 to −6.32]), PCL scores (n = 3, MD: −6.13 [95% CI −8.61 to −3.64]), and MADRS scores (n = 3, MD: −6.33 [95% CI −8.97 to −3.69]) at the maximal follow-up times versus control. Significant benefits were found at day 1 and weeks 1, 2, and 4 for CAPS and PCL scores as well as MADRS scores at day 1, week 1, and week 4 for ketamine versus control. The time to PTSD relapse was prolonged in the patients receiving ketamine versus control (n = 2, 15.74 days [95% CI 3.57 to 29.91 days]). More dry mouth (n = 2, OR 5.85 [95% CI 1.32 to 25.95]), dizziness (n = 2, OR 3.83 [95% CI 1.28 to 11.41]), and blurred vision (n = 2, OR 7.57 [1.00 to 57.10]) occurred with ketamine than control therapy. Conclusions and Relevance: Ketamine modestly reduced PTSD and depression scores as early as 1 day of therapy, but the longevity of effect needs to be determined. Given similar magnitude of benefit with SSRIs and venlafaxine, ketamine would not supplant these traditional options for chronic use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Pharmacotherapy
Issue number7
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • PTSD
  • depression
  • ketamine
  • mental health
  • post-traumatic stress disorder


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