How Many Ketamine Treatments for Depression Are Required?– Healizm

Ketamine Treatments for Depression


Ketamine has transformative effects on the mind and can relieve anxiety, severe depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and other symptoms rapidly.
What exactly is Ketamine? It is an anesthetic – originally developed in the 1960s for animals, but it has proven to be effective in treating depression that is resistant to treatment.
In the 2000s, medical professionals explored ketamine as a treatment for depression.
In 2019, the FDA approved Spravato, a ketamine nasal spray, for treatment-resistant depression.
It is a more potent form of ketamine and can be prescribed at lower doses while providing a similar effect.
Below, we will explore the various forms of ketamine treatment, the research supporting its efficacy, and how many treatments are required.

What is Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine therapy – also known as K therapy or ketamine infusion therapy, is an injection of ketamine given intravenously (IV).
A healthcare professional usually supervises it in a safe setting.
According to research, ketamine has been found to have rapid antidepressant effects and relieve patients who have failed to respond to other treatment options.

How Does It Treat Depression?

Compared to conventional antidepressants, ketamine has a unique mechanism of action.
Instead of targeting serotonin or dopamine, ketamine acts on the NMDA receptors in the brain. Blocking these receptors increases glutamate production.
This surge in glutamate activates AMPA receptors, leading to improved mood and ability to cope through a process known as synaptic plasticity.

How Many Ketamine Treatments Are Required?

People can require a different number of ketamine treatments for depression.
It depends on factors like:

  • The severity of the depression.
  • The patient’s response to the treatment.
  • The healthcare provider’s recommendations.

Patients with depression or mood disorders usually require three to six infusions of ketamine over a few weeks to achieve the results.
Based on the quality of the results and side effects, the infusions might be adjusted after the first and second sessions.
After a single infusion, ketamine’s antidepressant effects wear off within hours, days, or a few weeks.
A series of infusions has a more long-lasting effect.

How Long Does It Take to See Results?

Some patients will feel better after their first session of ketamine, while others might need multiple sessions to see positive results.
Although sometimes dramatic, results are usually gradual and improve over time.
Suicidal thoughts often go away after just one session.
Conversely, traditional antidepressants can take weeks to show effects.

Where is ketamine legal? Ketamine’s legal status varies by country, and its legality often depends on its intended use and form.
In the United States, ketamine is classified as a Schedule III drug — however, it is not classified as an opioid.
Schedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals have moderate to low physical and psychological dependence potential.
Being a Schedule III drug means that ketamine has a recognized medical use in the U.S., but it also has a potential for abuse.
It is legal for medical use but is controlled to prevent misuse.

Different Forms of Ketamine Available

Ketamine is available in several forms, each with a different dosage guideline.
Among the most common forms of ketamine used for depression treatment are:

1. Nasal Spray

One form of ketamine approved by the FDA for depression treatment is ketamine nasal spray, sold under Spravato.
The nasal spray is taken twice a week for four weeks.
To treat major depressive disorder (MDD), it is combined with antidepressant medication under the supervision of a healthcare professional.

2. Intravenous (IV) Therapy

In IV ketamine therapy, ketamine is infused slowly and continuously directly into the bloodstream.
In clinical settings, this method allows for precise dosage control.
According to a study published on PubMed, “Intravenous ketamine therapy is an effective alternative to ECT among patients suffering from depression with suicidal ideation.”

3. Intramuscular (IM) Injections

Another method of ketamine administration is through intramuscular injections.
IM injections may be an alternative to IV infusions for those who prefer not to have them.

4. Lozenges

Oral ketamine tablets — also known as lozenges.
These tablets dissolve slowly under the tongue and can be taken between IV or IM treatments or as a standalone therapy.
It might take longer to experience the effects of oral ketamine since it needs to be processed by the digestive system.
Ketamine IV has a few advantages over lozenges, including higher bioavailability, a safer and more controlled treatment experience, and the ability to adjust dosage.

Benefits of Ketamine

  • Rapid relief. Depressive symptoms can be quickly reduced with ketamine therapy – like within hours.
  • Treatment for depression that is resistant to treatment. Ketamine therapy is helpful for people who haven’t responded well to other treatments – like antidepressants and psychotherapy.
  • A more positive mood. In response to ketamine therapy, many people experience improved mood, motivation, and overall functioning.
  • Possibility to prevent suicide. Ketamine therapy reduces suicidal ideation and provides a lifeline for people at immediate risk with its fast-acting effects.
  • An alternative to unresponsive cases. Those who’ve lost faith in traditional therapies can find hope in ketamine therapy when multiple treatments have not worked.

Short-term Side Effects of Ketamine

  • Dissociation or detachment from surroundings.
  • Mild hallucinations or perceptual distortions.
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Headache or dizziness.
  • Transient changes in mood or emotions.
  • Potential for temporary impairment of coordination or balance.

Long-term Side Effects of Ketamine

The long-term effects of ketamine have not been fully studied.
However, there are possible risks associated with its long-term use.
Due to its stimulating properties, tolerance, physical dependence, and withdrawal syndrome, these risks can lead to the development of substance use disorders.
Further research is needed to understand the causal links and potential for addiction fully.

Further Reading

To learn more about depression and its treatments, explore our blog posts on the signs of depression and alternative therapeutic approaches.

Final Thoughts

For those with depression who have failed conventional treatment, ketamine can be an effective treatment – it offers new hope and relief with its rapid effects.
If you are considering ketamine therapy, consult with us.
With our help, you can determine whether this is the most appropriate course of treatment for you, and we can go over the treatment process with you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ketamine addictive when used for depression?

Ketamine has the potential for abuse and addiction, especially when used improperly or in high doses. However, when used under the supervision of a qualified medical professional for the treatment of depression, the risk of addiction is generally considered to be low. It’s essential to follow your doctor’s recommendations and attend regular monitoring sessions to minimize any risks.

How long does ketamine work for depression?

The effects of ketamine for depression can vary from person to person. Some people may feel better for a few days to a couple of weeks after a single treatment. Others might need a series of treatments for longer-lasting relief. Maintenance treatments may also be necessary to keep seeing benefits over time.

What to expect after ketamine treatment for depression?

Following a ketamine treatment, you might feel a bit confused or dizzy at first, or notice things seem a little different. But these feelings usually go away after a few hours. As for feeling better from depression, it varies. Some people start to notice improvements in just a few hours or days, while for others, it might take a bit longer. It’s really important to keep your healthcare provider in the loop about how you’re feeling so they can figure out the best plan for you.

Does insurance cover ketamine for depression?

Insurance coverage for ketamine treatment for depression can vary widely depending on your insurance provider, your specific plan, and the state or country in which you reside.
Some insurance plans may cover ketamine treatment for depression if it is prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider and deemed medically necessary. It’s advisable to check with your insurance company or consult with your healthcare provider’s office to understand your specific coverage and potential out-of-pocket expenses.

How much is ketamine treatment for depression?

The cost of ketamine treatment for depression can also vary significantly. Prices can depend on factors such as your location, the provider’s fees, the number of sessions required, and whether insurance covers any portion of the cost. Ketamine treatment can be expensive, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars per session. Discuss the cost and payment options with your healthcare provider or treatment center to determine the best financial plan for your needs.

No comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *