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NMDA Receptor Antagonist

Ketamine for Stroke (QUEST-KETA Trial)

Phase 2 & 3
Waitlist Available
Research Sponsored by Lower Merion Neurology Research Foundation
Eligibility Criteria Checklist
Specific guidelines that determine who can or cannot participate in a clinical trial
Must have
Pre-stroke modified Rankin scale of 0-2
Be older than 18 years old
Must not have
Pre-stroke modified Rankin scale of 3 or above
Eligibility to receive IV Alteplase or intra-arterial thrombectomy/embolectomy
Screening 3 weeks
Treatment Varies
Follow Up on day 1, day 4 or discharge whichever is earlier, and at 90 days
Awards & highlights


This trial will test whether ketamine can help protect the brain from damage after a stroke.

Who is the study for?
This trial is for adults over 18 with acute ischemic stroke within the last 24 hours, confirmed by MRI. They must have been relatively independent before the stroke (modified Rankin scale of 0-2) and agree to participate. It's not for those with brain hemorrhage, pregnancy, known ketamine allergy, eligibility for certain other stroke treatments, psychiatric illness, seizure at symptom onset or severe uncontrolled high blood pressure.Check my eligibility
What is being tested?
The study tests if intravenous ketamine can protect the brain after an acute ischemic stroke by reducing harmful overactivity of nerve cells. Participants will receive either ketamine or placebo (normal saline), and some may get a sedative (midazolam injection) as part of this phase II trial.See study design
What are the potential side effects?
Ketamine might cause side effects like hallucinations, confusion, elevated blood pressure, nausea or vomiting. Midazolam could lead to drowsiness or breathing difficulties. The severity and occurrence vary among individuals.

Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria

You may be eligible if you check “Yes” for the criteria below
I was independent in daily activities before my stroke.

Exclusion Criteria

You may be eligible for the trial if you check “No” for criteria below:
I needed help with my daily activities before my stroke.
I am eligible for clot-dissolving medication or a procedure to remove clots.
My blood pressure is very high despite taking medication.
I had a brain bleed when first diagnosed.
I had a seizure when my symptoms first started.


Screening ~ 3 weeks
Treatment ~ Varies
Follow Up ~on day 1, day 4 or discharge whichever is earlier, and at 90 days
This trial's timeline: 3 weeks for screening, Varies for treatment, and on day 1, day 4 or discharge whichever is earlier, and at 90 days for reporting.

Treatment Details

Study Objectives

Outcome measures can provide a clearer picture of what you can expect from a treatment.
Primary outcome measures
Change in weighted modified Rankin scale score between day 1 and 90 will be assessed.
Secondary outcome measures
All cause mortality
Barthel's index
Depression score using the PHQ9 questionnaire
+5 more

Trial Design

2Treatment groups
Experimental Treatment
Placebo Group
Group I: Study DrugExperimental Treatment2 Interventions
Will receive Ketamine infusion, and Midazolam (Versed).
Group II: PlaceboPlacebo Group2 Interventions
Will receive Normal saline infusion and Midazolam (Versed).
First Studied
Drug Approval Stage
How many patients have taken this drug
FDA approved
FDA approved

Research Highlights

Information in this section is not a recommendation. We encourage patients to speak with their healthcare team when evaluating any treatment decision.
Mechanism Of Action
Side Effect Profile
Prior Approvals
Other Research
Common treatments for stroke often aim to reduce neuroexcitotoxicity, which is a harmful process where excessive glutamate causes overactivation of NMDA receptors, leading to neuronal damage. Intravenous ketamine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, works by blocking these receptors, thereby reducing excitotoxicity and providing neuroprotection. This is crucial for stroke patients as it helps to minimize brain damage and improve functional recovery. Other treatments may include thrombolytics to dissolve blood clots, antiplatelet agents to prevent further clotting, and neuroprotective agents to safeguard brain cells. Together, these treatments aim to restore blood flow, protect neurons, and enhance recovery, ultimately improving outcomes for stroke patients.
Long-term functional recovery and compensation after cerebral ischemia in rats.

Find a Location

Who is running the clinical trial?

Lower Merion Neurology Research FoundationLead Sponsor

Media Library

Stroke Clinical Trial 2023: Ketamine Highlights & Side Effects. Trial Name: NCT03223220 — Phase 2 & 3
~80 spots leftby Dec 2026