Reconsidering “dissociation” as a predictor of antidepressant efficacy for esketamine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale: The relationship between subjective drug experience and antidepressant outcomes for ketamine derivatives is poorly understood but of high clinical relevance. Esketamine is the patented (S)-enantiomer of ketamine and has regulatory approval for psychiatric applications. Objectives: We examined the relationship between acute dissociation, as measured by the Clinician-Administered Dissociative States Scale (CADSS), and antidepressant efficacy, as measured by the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), for esketamine across the 4-week induction phase of treatment. Methods: This post hoc analysis combined data (N = 576) from the TRANSFORM-1 and TRANSFORM-2 clinical trials of esketamine for treatment-resistant depression. Linear mixed models were performed using total MADRS score as the outcome variable with the following independent variables: baseline MADRS score, treatment condition × time interaction, and CADSS × time interaction. To assess whether initial dissociation predicted rapid antidepressant benefit with esketamine, a separately planned regression was performed with day 2 MADRS as the outcome variable with the following dependent variables: baseline MADRS, treatment condition, and day 1 CADSS. Results: The linear mixed model did not show any effect of a CADSS × time interaction (p = 0.7). Looking solely at the effect of day 1 CADSS on day 2 MADRS revealed that each additional CADSS point was associated with a −.04 [95% CI −.08, −.002] (p =.04) decrease in MADRS score. Conclusions: We found no evidence of a clinically significant positive or negative association between dissociation and antidepressant effect for esketamine. Our findings suggest that subsequent inquiry in this area will benefit from improved characterization of drug experiences relevant to therapeutic outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-836
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Depression
  • Dissociation
  • Esketamine
  • Ketamine
  • Phenomenology
  • Psychedelic
  • Subjective
  • Trance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

Cite this