Send to

Choose Destination
J Affect Disord. 2013 May;147(1-3):431-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2012.08.040. Epub 2012 Nov 30.

Clinical experience using intranasal ketamine in the treatment of pediatric bipolar disorder/fear of harm phenotype.

Author information

Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation, Maplewood, NJ, USA.



Intravenous ketamine, a glutamate N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, has been shown to exert a rapid antidepressant effect in adults with treatment resistant depression. Children with bipolar disorder (BD) often respond poorly to pharmacotherapy, including polypharmacy. A pediatric-onset Fear of Harm (FOH) phenotype has been described, and is characterized by severe clinical features and resistance to accepted treatments for BD. The potential efficacy and safety of intranasal ketamine in children with BD with FOH-phenotype were assessed by a systematic retrospective chart review of a case series from the private practice of one of the authors, including cases with clear refractoriness to mood stabilizers, antipsychotics and benzodiazepines.


A comparison was made between routinely collected symptom measures 1-2 weeks prior to and after the administration of ketamine, in 12 treatment-refractory youth, 10 males 2 females ages 6-19years.


Ketamine administration was associated with a substantial reduction in measures of mania, fear of harm and aggression. Significant improvement was observed in mood, anxiety and behavioral symptoms, attention/executive functions, insomnia, parasomnias and sleep inertia. Treatment was generally well-tolerated.


Intranasal ketamine administration in treatment-resistant youth with BD-FOH produced marked improvement in all symptomatic dimensions. A rapid, substantial therapeutic response, with only minimal side effects was observed. Formal clinical trials to assess safety and efficacy are warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center