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Phase Pilot

Ketamine in Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Study HIC#:2000021457
  • Last Updated:07/15/2021

Brief Summary:

The purpose of this study is to test the potential of the rapid-acting anti-depressant ketamine to decrease suicidality in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

The rate of completed suicide in BPD is similar to that of depression or schizophrenia. There is currently no specific medication treatment for BPD.

Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic agent that has been shown to rapidly decrease suicidality and improve mood in people with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Though symptoms overlap, effective treatments for MDD and BPD differ. This clinical trial tests if ketamine also decreases suicidality and improves mood in BPD.

This trial will also measure several other outcomes after ketamine versus placebo in BPD: adverse events, BPD symptoms, pain, social cognition, and neuroplasticity.

  • Age21 years - 45 years
  • GenderBoth
  • Start Date01/15/2018
  • End Date08/31/2022

Trial Purpose and Description

We propose the first controlled experiment of ketamine in people with Borderline Personality Disorder. We aim to establish safety, tolerability, and efficacy. We will test two target mechanisms by which ketamine may reduce the frequency of suicide in BPD: suicidal ideation and social cognition.

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Age 21-45
  • Clinical diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Has suicidal ideation.
  • Fluent in English
  • Has a current mental health treater, and agrees for study to communicate with treater

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Current suicidal intent
  • Currently taking > 2 antidepressant medications.
  • Med changes in last 4 weeks
  • Currently taking >1 anti-psychotic
  • Any ketamine in any context in the last one year.
  • Current mood stabilizer prescription
  • Psychotic disorder in self or first-degree relative
  • Current substance dependence including alcohol dependence
  • Any history of NMDA-antagonist abuse
  • Any history of opiate abuse
  • History of major medical illness especially neurologic or cardiovascular condition, or any other medical contra-indication to ketamine administration at the discretion of the study MD.
  • Positive urine test for drugs of abuse screening at screening or on day of ketamine administration
  • Positive pregnancy test on day of ketamine administration
  • At the discretion of study staff

Principal Investigator


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