The Guide to IV Ketamine for Depression

Why IV Ketamine for depression?

According to National Center for Biotechnology Information: major depressive illness is a debilitating condition that is a matter of concern worldwide affecting millions of people and causing a considerable burden on health and socioeconomic status. As per the World Health Organization, depression is third among the global disease burden. Severe depressive disorder is among the most debilitating conditions. Conventional pharmacotherapy usually takes several weeks (usually 4–12 weeks) to improve symptoms.

Ketamine is a drug traditionally used for its anesthetic and pain-relieving properties. However, recent scientific discoveries found that ketamine infusion rapidly reduces depressive symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression—meaning depression that has not responded to antidepressant therapy. IV ketamine infusion therapy is associated with improvements in anxiety and depressive symptom severity, lower suicidal ideation, and better psychological and social functioning.

Ketamine is an N–methyl-D aspartate receptor antagonist having rapid action on depressive symptoms. A systematic review of studies of patients with treatment-resistant depression concluded IV ketamine resulted in improvement within four hours after the infusion (and peaking at 24 hours). A greater and more prolonged effect was observed after multiple infusions, but the effects of the first infusion were still present a week after the initial treatment. To compare, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—usually considered first-line treatment for depression—take 4 to 6 weeks to become effective. Thus, what takes weeks with SSRIs, takes only hours with ketamine.

How is intravenous ketamine therapy administered?IV Ketamine therapy

ketamine must be administered in a facility equipped, staffed, and prepared to deal with rare but serious side effects, such as drastic changes in blood pressure. Common adverse effects of ketamine infusion include drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion, derealization (experiencing the surroundings as unreal), depersonalization (feeling detached from one’s body), headache, and nausea. Another downside is that ketamine’s powerful antidepressant effects, though potent, are relatively short-lived. Indeed, that is the reason multiple infusions are recommended.

Ketamine infusion therapy services

We, at Harbor Psychiatry & Mental Health, can help you decide if IV ketamine is the right option for you. Contact us to make an appointment with one of our experienced healthcare providers who will answer your questions and familiarize you with our approach to health—a blend of scientific excellence and compassionate care tailored to your unique needs. Call us today.