Discover the story of ketamine and its new use for treating depression, PTSD and other psychiatric conditions.
Ketamine, a drug approved by the FDA in 1970 is an anesthetic agent that has been used in surgeries for over 50 years with an impressive safety record. Recently, researchers have discovered that ketamine also has strong antidepressant effects, stimulating the brain to create new neural pathways and promote positive behavioral patterns. As a result, ketamine is now being used as an effective treatment for depression, anxiety and PTSD.
How does Ketamine work?
When taken in subanesthetic doses, it binds to the NMDA receptors and releases glutamate which helps create new synaptic connections between brain cells; this rapid antidepressant effect happens almost immediately while still providing long lasting relief.
What are the side effects?
Most side effects are transient and will resolve by the end of your treatment. These normally peak within 30min after administration and resolve within 1-2hours.
Brief Side Effects
Common side effects of Ketamine during or shortly following treatment include:
- Feeling tired
- Increase in blood pressure or a fast heart rate
- Altered perception
- Temporary Bruising
- Feeling Dissociated
- Feeling ‘ a bit drunk’
- A floating sensation
- Liver Damage
Ketamine vs Traditional Anti-depressants (SSRIs)
|Ketamine||Traditional Anti-depressants (SSRIs)|
Within 24 Hours
Within 2-4 weeks
Frequency of Treatment
Bi-weekly when starting treatment, monthly to every-other month for maintenance if necessary
Ketamine has been shown to be effective for about 70% of patients who do not respond well enough with traditional therapies like SSRI’s.
Unlike traditional antidepressants (SSRIs) which have to be taken on a daily basis, IV Ketamine treatment provides long lasting relief with monthly to bi-monthly administration.
Studies have shown that Ketamine treatment reduces suicidal ideation and alleviates depressive symptoms within 24 hours with close to no long-term side effects.
Is Ketamine addictive?
Similarly to many other pharmacological agents, Ketamine has also been used recreationally. Normally, when used recreationally, Ketamine is given intranasally and typically in higher doses than when used for the treatment of mental health disorders. The long-term use of Ketamine recreationally can lead to tolerance but not to physical dependence.
However, studies have shown that when Ketamine was administered in a clinical setting for the treatment of depression, there was no subsequent increased risk of abuse. Even higher doses of Ketamine than those used clinically are not ‘rewarding’ per se, making it unlikely that they may cause addiction. However, to minimize risk, if you have a history of addictive disorders, this will be carefully reviewed by the psychiatrist, before a Ketamine session is organized.
Can I continue taking my medication?
Ketamine can be given while taking most medications and is expected for you to continue with your ongoing treatment. Our in house psychiatrist will review any medical history, advise on changes if needed before starting Ketamine treatment & advise about reducing / stopping psychiatric mediations following sessions – this way we know what’s best suited towards your needs.