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Speakers’ Series: Wednesday, February 12, 7:30 p.m. EDT

Feb 12, 2020, Robert Meisner, “Ketamine: Separating Fact from Fiction”

Ketamine was once used mainly as an anesthetic on battlefields and in operating rooms. Now, this medication is gaining ground as a promising treatment for some cases of major depression. Because of its rapid action, ketamine could have a role to play in helping to prevent suicide.

If a person responds to ketamine, it can rapidly reduce suicidality (life-threatening thoughts and acts) and relieve other serious symptoms of depression. Ketamine also can be effective for treating depression combined with anxiety. Other treatments for suicidal thoughts and depression often take weeks or even months to take effect, and some people need to try several medications or approaches to gain relief.

Robert C. Meisner, MD, is the medical director of the Ketamine Service in the Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program at McLean Hospital and an attending psychiatrist in the Acute Psychiatric Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. He graduated from Princeton and attended Harvard Medical School. His academic interests included graduate study in cultural anthropology, with early clinical training in internal medicine and anesthesia, critical care, and pain. Dr. Meisner has written and lectured on a wide range of topics, including the safe translation of ketamine research into evidence-based clinical practice, ebola and the psychiatric consequences of quarantine, depression and existential distress in palliative care.

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