This study found that intravenous ketamine following the brief retrieval of maladaptive cue-alcohol memories produced a comprehensive reduction in the reinforcing effects of alcohol among harmful drinkers. A rapid and lasting reduction in the number of drinking days per week and volume of alcohol consumed was observed when ketamine followed MRM retrieval/destabilization, with no rebound to baseline observed for at least 9 months following manipulation. Control groups receiving retrieval or ketamine alone did not show such changes in reward-related responses to alcohol, although the latter group did show some reduction in drinking.
This pattern of results is aligned with a therapeutic mechanism grounded in reconsolidation interference. Successful interference with the MRMs that putatively underlie excessive drinking should theoretically allow rapid and lasting dampening of reward response to alcohol cues, reducing motivation to drink and drinking levels. The reductions in drinking attributable to ketamine per se (i.e. without MRM retrieval) are … Read More