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Naltrexone and Scopolamine Rapidly Reduce Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): A Double Blinded Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

Naltrexone and Scopolamine Rapidly Reduce Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): A Double Blinded Randomized Controlled Pilot Study
Publication Type
Journal Article
Research Type
Reported as
Clinical Trial
February 01, 2019
Neal Taub
The Charlotte Ketamine Center

BACKGROUND: Scopolamine and naltrexone are FDA approved medications that have been utilized off label for the indication of major depressive disorder (MDD). We examined the efficacy of the 2 medications in combination for major depression.

METHODS: 14 adults (7 female and 7 males) with current major depressive disorder were randomized by coin flip to 0.15 mg BID of scopolamine and 1 mg BID naltrexone or placebo for a total of 4 weeks. Modified MDRS questionnaires were utilized to monitor progress in depression symptomatology. The placebo patients were crossed over to the active medi-cations subsequent to the 4 week trial period.

RESULTS: 2 subjects dropped out of the trial as a result of side effects. A total of 12 subjects completed the trial. The average reduction in Modified MDRS scores over the 4 weeks for the active medications was 12.5. The average reduction noted in control patients was 3.5. This difference was statistically significant with P = 0.03, less than 0.05 for a greater than 95% confidence interval utilizing Student’s T test analysis. Of the 4 patients that crossed over to the active medications three additional patients noted a partial or complete response to the medications with an average reduc-tion and Modified MDRS scores of 8. No washout periods were utilized before the trial or for the crossover period.

CONCLUSION: The combination of scopolamine and naltrexone demonstrated significant benefit for MDD.

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