What is the most effective way to take ketamine?

May 4, 2023 | Ketamine IV

By Cory Fowler, FNP

It is important to understand the most effective way to take ketamine. NuLife Medical provides our clients with advanced treatment options for their depression, notably IV ketamine. So why the need for IV intake? Someone may pose the question: “Couldn’t I just take this as a pill or nasal spray?”. Intravenous administration ensures maximum bioavailability which is key to the effective and safe utilization of this drug.

What does bioavailability mean? This refers to the rate with which medication actually makes it into your bloodstream and needs to be used by your body and brain – which is not always congruent with how much is taken in. When utilizing oral or intranasal medications, many active ingredients are digested, modified into an unusable form, metabolized, or excreted before they have time to reach the brain. 

Ketamine IV treatment with Cory

The only way certain drugs have 100% bioavailability is when administered intravenously; here’s a look at the relative percentages based on delivery method:

IV: 100%
IM: 93%
Intranasal: 25-50%
Sublingual (under the tongue): 30%
Oral (by mouth): 16-24%.

When given intravenously, the entirety of one’s dose goes directly to the brain; something that cannot be said for other forms like intranasal or oral intake as they often lose part or most of their dosage because sneezing and dripping can cause them to run down one’s throat or evaporate in the lungs. Therefore, trusting a route with predictable results is essential when dealing with appropriate depression treatments.

When you receive ketamine through an IV in our office, it is administered slowly over the course of one hour. Doing this allows us to keep a close watch on you and stop the infusion if any adverse reactions happen. In contrast, when a dose of ketamine is taken intranasally at home, there is no medical supervision and so any issues that arise cannot be addressed straight away. The same applies to oral and intramuscular dosing – once the pill or shot has been administered into your body, the effects are felt instantly and cannot be stopped.

IV ketamine administration is by far the best approach to treating depression with this novel medication. It provides a comfortable setting with medical personnel present throughout, minimizing potential side effects while ensuring that the full dose goes directly to your brain for maximum benefit.