Drug Therapeutics: Ketamine in the Spotlight

May 16, 2023 | Ketamine IV

The discussion surrounding psychedelic drug therapeutics has put ketamine in the spotlight.

We answer 10 important questions to educate and better inform people about this powerful anesthetic. Ketamine is frequently used for sedation for both animals and individuals, as well as being a recreational drug at certain parties. Now it’s become a popular treatment for major psychological health issues such as depression, though many have misconceptions about how it functions and how to find a physician that prescribes it. We consulted psychiatrists, experts, and sufferers in order to answer the common ten queries about this drug.


Who would most likely gain from ketamine therapy? To begin, those coping with serious developmental afflictions who’ve had little to no effect from alternate pharmaceutical procedures could profit most greatly from treatment via ketamine. Examples include PTSD, bipolar disorder, OCD, anxiety, eating disorders, and depression which don’t respond to drugs or other techniques (also known as treatment-resistant depression). Those with psychosis cannot be treated by ketamine-based therapies.

The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry regarding patients treated at three MindPeace clinics in Virginia. Reports show that after 10 infusions 72% of subjects saw an improvement to their demeanor and 38% were fully symptom-free. Plus this assessment was made among patients who had self-selected for the trial so proper weight should be given to its results.

Ketamine has been officially permitted as an anesthetic since 1970 but using it for psychiatric reasons falls under off-label treatments – meaning it won’t receive FDA approval even if a doctor can prescribe it – although eskamatine does hold accreditation in this form; namely as Spravato for treating resistant depression or for intense suicidal thinking.

Gerard Sanacora from Yale School Of Medicine noted that albeit some patients have seen life-altering benefits from therapies involving ketamine there are still unanswered questions surrounding its range of effects on different disorders, the ideal mode of delivery (IV), optimal dosage, and how harmful longterm deployments may end up being; while bearing in mind “it’s not necessarily a miracle cure” for everyone either him emphasis laid on caution when considering treatments involving ketamine overall.
Studies indicate that ketamine has the potential to quickly treat depression symptoms in a majority of patients – many reports suggest up to 70%. This is in stark contrast to traditional antidepressant methods, which take much longer, potentially before any improvement is seen. Furthermore, some people may see no effect at all when trying these antidepressants. Ketamine operates on different brain chemistry than regular pharmaceuticals by impacting glutamate levels and modifying existing thought processes. Similar drugs such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA are being studied for their possible mental health applications; however, ketamine and esketamine currently hold the only legal prescription outside of clinical trials.

The method of administration can range from intravenous infusion to tablets sublingually or intramuscular injection. In most cases during therapy sessions, the patient will sit in a comfortable chair while listening to music while the drug is taken. Generally, 6 treatments over 2-3 weeks are recommended along with follow-up talk therapy after drug effects have passed away.

What does ketamine therapy feel like?
Those who have experienced this form of treatment describe it as an out-of-body journey away from the physical world. People tend to gain intensified senses with brighter colors being a common occurrence. 67-year-old Ann McGill of Randolph, Mass., described her intranasal treatments as resembling something inside a lava lamp – “peaceful, serene, tranquil and beautiful.” Nevertheless, each person’s experience is unique and reactions may include crying, anxiety, and even nausea, dizziness, and disorientation due to an increase in blood pressure.

Ketamine therapy provides patients seemingly a break from troubling thought patterns. It can present an opportunity for people to rethink their behavioral patterns too. Daniel Brenner mentioned that feelings become more accessible whilst negative thoughts begin to vanish during or after administration. Considering McLean Hospital in Belmont’s study found an 85% decrease in suicidal tendencies, it remains essential that we monitor any adverse side effects during treatment.

Ariel Wolff of Malden Mass., was only 32 years old yet faced depression and anxiety for 20 years until she sought treatment at Cambridge BioTherapies in June and underwent 6 intravenous ketamine infusions which changed her life for the better – doing things she once loved again such as cooking, hiking reading, and conversations were all renewed thanks to this medication.

Is ketamine safe to use?
When correctly used, under supervision, and with patient testing done beforehand, many physicians deem therapeutic ketamine as generally dependable. However, there is still the risk that accompanies most drugs due to their potential for abuse and being managed by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Not all medications or conditions are ideal when it comes to ketamine therapy, which is why a full medical and mental health background must be checked beforehand.

The American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists & Practitioners suggests people abstain from activities such as driving, taking care of small kids, or anything else stressful directly after a treatment session.

Lately, an international group of specialists in mood problems presented a paper in the American Journal of Psychiatry that detailed esketamine and intravenous ketamine use to manage depression which is appearing difficult to treat. They concluded that these drugs bring promise to numerous patients yet more research must be done concerning efficacy and safety in long-term treatment.
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Rakesh Jain from Austin stated that using ketamine regarding even non-psychiatric topics has become widespread today, allowing numerous people to receive sorely needed relief such was not available before consequently corresponding growth amongst practitioners cannot be measured easily.

Can humans take ketamine without consulting a professional?
It is highly recommended that anyone thinking of using ketamine for treatment should consult with a physician or other trusted clinician first, according to Raquel Bennett, who founded the KRIYA Institute for research into the effects of the drug.
Experts caution that unsupervised use can have physical and mental side effects, and may lead to addiction over time.
Ketamine use can also trigger previously-buried painful memories, making medical guidance all the more important.

If it’s so effective, why isn’t every person with depression on ketamine?
Ketamine is fast becoming accepted as an effective treatment by many doctors, but since it is a generic drug and not profit-motivated, there are currently no major clinical trials suggesting its efficacy in treating mental health issues. Additionally, its use as a recreational drug makes some people hesitant to trust it completely.
Nothing seemed to help – until they tried ketamine.

Are spas providing ketamine therapy legal? Are any options for home use available?
While physicians can legally provide ketamine as part of their treatments there are as yet few guidelines regarding proper patient care when using this drug. As such there are now many different methods of delivering services ranging from luxury spa settings with high-end relaxation features through to mail-order prescriptions accompanied by ‘healing’ music playlists. 

Albert Garcia-Romeu from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine called the current situation ‘the Wild West’, indicating an unregulated industry where different practitioners offer different protocols and some offer no additional processing at all other than administering the drug itself and then sending patients home again. Telemedicine companies have risen in recent years offering direct home delivery which offers a virtual support package in 30 US states alongside its at-home drugs administration service. There are concerns among providers over the relative lack of monitoring while using these services especially when performed in patients’ own homes without support immediately available if necessary. Robert Meisner who works at Harvard’s McLean Hospital has noted that greater oversight is required which suggests stricter safety regulations may soon be put in place when administering this medication. We do not advise doing at home Ketamine. We only offer intervenous Ketamine and found much success this way

The cost of ketamine therapy at NuLife is $350 for a single infusion or $325 for each one purchased with a package of 6.