Public and patient expectations of treatment influence health behaviours and decision-making. This study aimed to understand how the media has portrayed the therapeutic use of ketamine in psychiatry.
It found that ketamine treatment was portrayed in an extremely positive light, with significant contributions of positive testimony from key opinion leaders (e.g. clinicians). Positive research results and ketamine's rapid antidepressant effec were frequently emphasised, with little reference to longer-term safety and efficacy.
The study concluded that information pertinent to patient help-seeking and treatment expectations is being communicated through the media and supported by key opinion leaders, although some quotes go well beyond the evidence base. Clinicians should be aware of this and may need to address their patients’ beliefs directly.