Ketamine as a Novel Psychopharmacotherapy for Eating Disorders: Evidence and Future Directions.

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Eating disorders (EDs) are serious, life-threatening psychiatric conditions associated with physical and psychosocial impairment, as well as high morbidity and mortality. Given the chronic refractory nature of EDs and the paucity of evidence-based treatments, there is a pressing need to identify novel approaches for this population. The noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDAr) antagonist, ketamine, has recently been approved for treatment-resistant depression, exerting rapid and robust antidepressant effects. It is now being investigated for several new indications, including obsessive-compulsive, post-traumatic, and substance use disorder, and shows transdiagnostic potential for EDs, particularly among clinical nonresponders. Hence, the aim of this review is to examine contemporary findings on the treatment of EDs with ketamine, whether used as a primary, adjunctive, or combination psychopharmacotherapy. Avenues for future research are also discussed. Overall, results are encouraging and point to therapeutic value; however, are limited to case series and reports on anorexia nervosa. Further empirical research is thus needed to explore ketamine efficacy across ED subgroups, establish safety profiles and optimize dosing, and develop theory-driven, targeted treatment strategies at the individual patient level.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ragnhildstveit, A; Slayton, M; Jackson, LK; Brendle, M; Ahuja, S; Holle, W; Moore, C; Sollars, K; Seli, P; Robison, R

Published Date

  • March 2022

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 12 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 382 -

PubMed ID

  • 35326338

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8963252

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2076-3425

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2076-3425

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.3390/brainsci12030382


  • eng