Ketamine therapy: The use of the drug ketamine, often in low doses and administered by a healthcare professional, to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.

Whether ketamine has transient or sustained neurocognitive benefits beyond its anti-depressant effects is unknown. Improved cognition by ketamine might be used to facilitate psychotherapy interventions for PTSD and depression.

  • University of Exeter researchers have published a review of research evaluating ketamine’s value in mental health therapy.
  • Does not have sexual adverse effects and interacts little with coadministered drugs, although it does inhibit the CYP2D6 hepatic enzyme.
  • We used an extensive search strategy covering a number of databases and trial registries to identify all relevant literature.
  • It should, however, be noted that only 9.6 % of patients in the ketamine group experienced depersonalization and 4.1 % dizziness (versus 2.4 % in the placebo group) while other side effects were unspecific and found in the placebo group.

It is not thought to be curative; rather, it improves symptoms for a certain amount of time. It is easier to say who isn’t appropriate for ketamine treatment, based on the side effects. Ketamine is quickly emerging as one of the most promising alternative therapies for depression, anxiety, PTSD, other mood disorders, and chronic pain.

Procedures To Treat Depression

The FDA has only approved a particular form of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression, not anxiety. However, doctors may still prescribe ketamine “off-label” to treat anxiety. This is known as ketamine therapy, and the research on its potential benefits has been steadily growing.

Results of individual studies included in the synthesis were presented in a separate table for each psychiatric diagnosis. Meta-analysis was not deemed appropriate because of the heterogeneity of dosage, number and methods of ketamine administrations, patient populations, study designs and outcome measures. The results were grouped according to patient population (MDD, bipolar disorder, suicidal ideation, generalised and social anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorders, substance use disorders and eating disorders) and by setting . Additionally, adverse effects across all included studies were synthesised together.

In early trials, patients suffering from a wide range of drug-resistant mood disorders — including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and social anxiety disorder — have seen symptoms improve, often immediately. Wang et al noted that treatment of central pain syndrome is known to be extremely challenging. Current therapies are unsatisfactory as patients report only mild-to-moderate pain relief. These investigators reported a case of using ketamine as a patient-controlled analgesia for the treatment of CPS. A 58-year old man with CPS presented with severe generalized body pain refractory to multiple pharmacological interventions. He was started on a basal infusion rate at 0.3 mg/kg/h with a ketamine PCA bolus of 10 mg with a 10-min lock-out period.

Typically, these clinics are for-profit enterprises that are staffed by some combination of either a psychiatrist or an anesthesiologist , a nurse, a social worker, and the businesspeople who make it all work. Ketamine is an unusual type of psychedelic drug — called a dissociative — that is undergoing a resurgence in popularity. Originally derived from PCP, or “angel dust,” ketamine has been used in hospitals and veterinary clinics as an anesthetic for decades, and has been cited as a drug of misuse under the moniker “special K.” The synergistic effect of dual use of amphetamine-type stimulants and ketamine on drug-induced psychotic symptoms in Chinese synthetic drug users.

Are There Any Side Effects?

There are a number of methodological differences between ketamine studies that would benefit from standardising to aid interpretation of findings as more psychiatric indications are researched as targets for ketamine treatment. One area of discrepancy has been the use of active versus inactive placebos . Although earlier studies in depression used inactive placebos, active placebos have begun to be adopted. Benefits of active placebos are in providing more confidence in blinding to treatment allocation, where the subjective effects of the drug make blinding difficult, as with ketamine.

Although there are potential side effects, such as temporary confusion or temporary memory loss, a series of ECT treatments may provide significant relief of severe depression. The variety of protocols being developed shows promise of having a treatment option for anyone who is interested and can safely use ketamine. From high-dose intravenous infusions in luxury clinics to affordable at-home options, ketamine is proving to be an unlikely but potent force opening up fascinating new opportunities on the mental health landscape. Permissions granted under the Public Health Emergency allowed patients access to medications without completing in-person meetings with their healthcare providers, which are typically required. During this time, companies like Mindbloom had already been operating in-person ketamine clinics. When telemedicine became approved, a new opportunity was created to open greater access to ketamine, including the permission to mail controlled substances across state lines.

However, Kate Daly MD, the Medical Director of All Points North, notes that ketamine is most effective for anxiety when it’s paired with therapy. Therapy can help with addressing the underlying causes of anxiety while ketamine simply helps to tone down the mental and physical symptoms. Most antidepressants, especially SSRIs, should be tapered off (by decreasing the dose by about 25%/week) rather than stopped abruptly; stopping SSRIs abruptly may result in discontinuation syndrome . The likelihood and severity of withdrawal varies inversely with the half-life of the SSRI. Patients who have recovered from psychotic depression are at higher risk of relapse than those who had nonpsychotic depression, so prophylactic treatment is particularly important. It is most often given in 50- to 100-mg doses at bedtime to depressed patients with insomnia. Symptoms of many of the conditions which ketamine treats can be lowered by certain medications or supplements which are ingested as a liquid or in pill form.

Is Ketamine The Right Treatment For You?

The process involves inserting a needle into a vein, with the needle connected to a rubber tube that receives the medicine from a drip bag. Conventional antidepressants can take between three and 12 weeks to begin easing symptoms. On average, ketamine therapy takes between hours to start being effective. This rapid therapy can be beneficial for treating severe depression and preventing suicide. Ketamine therapy is a cutting-edge, off-label therapy for treating depression and mood-related mental health disorders that fail to respond to other therapies. Ketamine infusion is also a more rapid treatment option, proving highly beneficial to treating severe depression and preventing suicide.

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