Ketamine Infusion Therapy: Techniques and Efficacy

what is ketamine therapy

Let’s also discuss some tips that might be helpful to you if you receive ketamine infusion therapy. If you have tried several antidepressants before, then you know that it takes anywhere from four to six weeks to start seeing the full effect of the medicine—if you see any effects at all. Someone who is suicidal does not have the luxury of waiting several weeks for a medicine to kick in. Ketamine, originally developed as anesthesia, was first discovered to work similarly to antidepressants as early as 1975.

Although ketamine infusions may generally be well-tolerated by many, there are several factors that might prevent you from being able to try ketamine infusions. For example, if you have schizophrenia, high blood pressure that is not otherwise well-managed, or if you are acutely alcohol-intoxicated, you will not be able to receive ketamine infusions. In one study, 88% of the participants given a ketamine infusion in the emergency room had their suicidal ideation go away in just 90 minutes.

Keep reading to learn more about the uses, side effects, and risks of ketamine, as well as its interactions with alcohol and other drugs. While ketamine is safe to use in controlled medical practice, it becomes hazardous if someone takes it for recreational use as it may result in potentially life-threatening adverse effects. Once the infusion is over, you will likely still feel a little out of it as the ketamine wears off. You will be monitored for another 20 to 30 minutes, and then you can leave. Have a ride (whether a loved one or a ride-share) home, because you will not be able to drive.

Ketamine is also being studied for other mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and in those with a history of psychosis. However, more research is needed before it can be recommended for these conditions. In the past, there was speculation that ketamine masked depression by making a person feel “high.” This theory has since been debunked. Ketamine doesn’t remain in the system very long, yet research blood alcohol content bac shows that people treated with it feel relief in the days and weeks after they stop taking it. Ketamine and esketamine, on the other hand, are thought to create more connections (synapses) between brain cells, a process thought to ease depression and decrease suicidal thoughts. One recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology estimated that almost a third of the nearly 9 million people in the United States treated for depression each year have TRD.

what is ketamine therapy

The most serious are unconsciousness, high blood pressure, and dangerously slowed breathing. The drug could also cause long-term problems, such as ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; and poor memory. Ketamine could be fatal for people who abuse alcohol or if you take it while you’re drunk. The drug is also popular for recreational use because of its dissociative effects. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), recreational forms of ketamine are commonly known as Special K, KitKat, Vitamin K, and other slang terms. Ketamine has been used as a medication to treat several pain and mood disorders.

Are there side effects of ketamine therapy?

Ketamine may work by helping people dissociate from unhealthy thought patterns, clearing space for deeper processing of traumas, per a systematic review and meta-analysis. Other forms of ketamine – none of which are approved by the FDA for mental health conditions – include IV infusion or a shot in the arm. If you have certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart-related problems, or certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, detox ketamine may not be safe for you. Your doctor can tell you about the latest research and medical uses for ketamine, including the pros and cons of the drug. But injectable ketamine for depression or other mental health conditions is not yet FDA-approved and may not be covered. A 2022 review found that long-term, high dose use of recreational ketamine may be linked to brain function-related side effects, mood disorders, and psychotic symptoms.

IV-infused ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic for surgical and medical procedures. In recent years, ketamine has increasingly been used as an antidepressant to treat TRD — considered off-label use. Ketamine delivered in low doses can provide rapid relief of TRD lasting for days to weeks.

  1. Right now, however, more research is needed to look at larger sample sizes and demographics of people, more controlled studies, and lengthier follow-up to assess the long-term effects of ketamine on substance use issues.
  2. At your ketamine treatment appointment, you will be prepped appropriately (you may be weighed to determine dosage; if you’re receiving it intravenously, an IV will be started).
  3. The diverse mechanisms of action may also play a role in “resetting” the pain receptors that have become hypersensitized in neuropathic pain conditions like Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
  4. They may offer you an eye mask and headphones, or you may want to bring your own.

Check back for information on their monthly virtual meetings, which feature guest speakers and reviews of new studies in psychedelic medicine. If you have commercial insurance coverage, you may only need to pay $10 for Spravato through a savings program, according to the company. Monitoring sessions after the medication are required; after a rebate, this may cost $0.

The glutamate leads the brain to form new connections and repair damaged ones, increasing its adaptability. Talk with mental health care professional or primary care doctor if you’re interested in trying ketamine for depression, says Yalda Safai, MD, a New York-based psychiatrist at Pasithea Clinics. They can help you decide if ketamine is right for you and refer you to a professional who specializes in ketamine therapy. This nonprofit group focuses on the safe clinical use of ketamine for mental health disorders and pain conditions.

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Long-term ketamine use has been linked to bladder dysfunction and memory loss. Receive free access to exclusive content, a personalized homepage based on your interests, and a weekly newsletter with the topics of your choice. Receive free access to exclusive content, a personalized homepage based on your interests, and a weekly newsletter with topics of your choice. This ayurvedic self-care approach involves gently massaging the joints, muscles, and other body parts to stimulate blood flow and boost immunity, among…

what is ketamine therapy

Given how common TRD may be, limitations in medication options — typically a crucial component of depression treatment plans — are a significant roadblock. This consumer-friendly website covers the basics of psychedelic therapy, including what psychedelics are, choosing a psychedelic therapist, the risks and how to stay safe, as well as how the legal landscape surrounding these drugs is changing. For information on mood disorders, support tools for mental wellness, and how to stay mentally healthy, this organization is an accurate and thorough go-to resource. As the science surrounding ketamine therapy grows, so too the potential applications of the treatment.

More on Depression

At present, racemic ketamine is not FDA-approved for psychiatric treatment; however, it’s been used off-label for decades for psychiatric treatment, and it’s currently one of the two forms commonly used today in this capacity. In both cases, approval limited use to the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) safety program. Under the REMS program, Spravato must be administered in certified, medically supervised health care settings where patients are closely monitored (Cottone, 2023). Ketamine alcohol and the brain is a dissociative anesthetic drug that has long been used for anesthesia. Due to numerous studies over the last two decades, ketamine has emerged as a potential treatment for various mental health disorders, for example, treatment resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and alcohol use disorder. It is only FDA approved as esketamine (similar to ketamine) for treatment-resistant depression and depression with suicidality, although ketamine is prescribed off label to treat other psychiatric disorders.

Ketamine vs. Traditional Antidepressants for Treatment-Resistant Conditions

For psychiatrist Alan Shatzberg, MD, who did some of the research that uncovered this, that’s concerning. Some nerve cells (neurons) in the brain involved in mood use a chemical (neurotransmitter) called glutamate to communicate with each other. The nerve cells need glutamate receptors – think of them like catcher’s mitts for glutamate – in order to join in this communication. The brain can respond in a few ways, depending on the state it was in to begin with.

In contrast, no recreational use of the drug is safe, as it can cause addiction and adverse health effects that can lead to death. It is important to note that ketamine is no longer safe when individuals take it inappropriately. The danger increases with regular use since it can harm health and other aspects of life. People who use it claim that a ketamine trip is superior to a PCP or LSD trip because it produces shorter-term hallucinations that last 30 minutes to an hour instead of several hours. Research in 2017 notes that some studies indicate ketamine can quickly relieve depression in people who do not respond well to other treatment. The FDA has approved ketamine for general anesthesia only, but the drug has some off-label uses.

We use only trustworthy sources, including peer-reviewed studies, board-certified medical experts, patients with lived experience, and information from top institutions. To learn more about specific psychedelic drugs that may play a role in medicine, check out the Resource Library from the Psychedelic Medicine Association, which is made up of physicians, therapists, and healthcare professionals. The cost of ketamine therapy varies widely depending on the type of clinic you go to, if you’re getting psychotherapy alongside it (and how many sessions and if they are in-person versus virtual), or if you’re ordering from an online company. Following a predetermined series of sessions, you’ll then talk about what you may need in the future. But most patients continue psychotherapy [with the clinic or one’s own therapist],” says De La Hoz.

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