December 7, 2023

Can We Predict Ketamine Therapy Outcomes for Depression? This Model May Hold Promise

Written by

Gary Kane, PhD

Ketamine Infusion Therapy (KIT) is gaining attention as a treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). However, predicting who will benefit most from this treatment remains elusive. A recent study by Gary Kane and the research team at Osmind addresses this issue using a new approach.

Study Overview

The study involved about 5,000 MDD patients undergoing IV Ketamine Therapy. Central to the research was the PHQ-9 questionnaire, used to gauge depression severity. Patients completed this questionnaire within 30 days before starting treatment and continued at various intervals for up to six months after beginning therapy.

Challenges in Predicting Treatment Response

Predicting treatment response is complicated by fluctuations in depression scores. Patients' PHQ-9 scores often change significantly, making it difficult to identify consistent patterns in response to treatment.

Methods and Study Design

Addressing this, Osmind's team used a longitudinal model, analyzing PHQ-9 scores over time. They applied beta regression, more suitable for the bounded nature of these scores (0 to 27), to capture the typical variations in depression symptoms.

A key feature of their method was 'time warping,' which allows an easy-to-interpret linear model to explain the non-linear pattern of response — rapid initial improvement followed by a plateau — to ketamine therapy.

Model Findings and Implications

Fluctuations in PHQ-9 scores can make it appear as if a patient is responding well to treatment at one point, but not so much at the next evaluation. This model estimates a consistent response trajectory, indicating the patient's response on average over time. Importantly, this model can predict the response trajectory for individual patients based on characteristics known at the start of treatment, offering insights into how they might respond to the treatment over a six-month period.

Concluding Insights

This research marks a significant step in personalizing treatment for depression. By predicting individual responses to IV Ketamine Therapy, clinicians can create more effective, tailored treatment plans, potentially enhancing outcomes for MDD patients.

View the full poster below:

Scientific poster with title using a longitudinal model to predict outcomes to ketamine intravenous therapy for depression

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