How ketamine therapy works
Doctors don’t know exactly how ketamine works to treat depression, but they have some ideas. Unlike antidepressants, which work by shifting the balance of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, ketamine is thought to change the way brain cells communicate with each other.
Ketamine blocks a type of receptor in the brain, known as NMDA, thought to play a role in depression. Recent studies find that ketamine can have long-lasting effects on depression, even though the drug only stays in the body for a short time.
Who is ketamine therapy suitable for?
Contraindications are active substance abuse, especially cocaine or methamphetamine. It is not suitable for anyone with aneurysmal vascular disease (including thoracic and abdominal aorta, intracranial and peripheral arterial vessels) or arteriovenous malformation. It is also not suitable for anyone with a history of intracerebral hemorrhage or pregnant women.
What happens during ketamine therapy?
Patients commonly experience dissociation- a temporary departure or skewing of reality. For this reason, monitoring by a professional is required.
Is ketamine therapy safe?
Ketamine therapy is safe when done in a medically supervised and controlled environment. Vital signs and level of consciousness are regularly checked before, during, and after each treatment.
How long is ketamine therapy?
There is a standard four-week titration period, twice a week for four weeks. Following this, the schedule is tailored to the individual patient’s needs.