Preclinical data has previously suggested that low-dose ketamine treatment has short-term antiparkinsonian activity and can reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesia in the long term after an initial 10-hour total treatment. Torsten Falk, PhD, University of Arizona, Tuscon, AZ, discusses the rationale and results of the open-label, dose-finding Phase I/II clinical trial testing the safety and tolerability of low-dose ketamine infusion to treat levodopa-induced dyskinesia. To mimic the 10-hour infusion used in the preclinical model but to be suitable for outpatient use, two 5-hour low-dose ketamine infusions were given within one week. The study results look promising, with over 50% reduction of dyskinesia from baseline during infusion two and 41% reduction at three months post-treatment. The effects on parkinsonian symptoms, captured with UPDRS, were also measured: 27% reduction during infusion two. A multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II/III trial (NCT04912115), with midazolam as an active-placebo, is planned to start before the end of the year. This interview took place at the 2022 International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Madrid, Spain.
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Dr. Falk has a patent for the use of ketamine as a novel treatment for levodopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease, that has been licensed to PharmaTher Inc. in 2020. He also consulted for PharmaTher Inc., and received travel support.