Are Ketamine Treatments Safe?

Apr 04, 2023
Are Ketamine Treatments Safe?
Ketamine is an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and other hard-to-treat disorders, but because of its prior history, many people wonder if it’s safe. In this post, you’ll learn the answer.

Ketamine is a drug with an interesting history. Once used solely as an anesthetic, illicit ketamine gained popularity as a street drug, especially in the club scene where it was known by its nickname: Special K.

More recently, researchers have discovered that in the right doses, ketamine can be an effective treatment for a host of hard-to-treat ailments, including treatment-resistant depressionanxietypost-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and chronic pain.

But despite all those beneficial uses, ketamine still suffers from its former use as an abused substance. That leaves lots of potential patients wary of seeking ketamine therapy to relieve their persistent symptoms.

Revival Infusion Madison is a leading provider of ketamine infusion therapy for patients in and around Fitchburg, Wisconsin. If you’ve been wondering if ketamine infusions can help you but you’re unsure about the drug’s safety, here’s what you should know.

Ketamine and safety

First, ketamine has been used for years as an anesthetic, which means it has a long safety profile in terms of medical use. Ketamine is even widely used and well tolerated as an anesthetic in children. 

When ketamine is used to treat mental health issues, the dose used is much smaller, and the potential for side effects is dramatically reduced. In fact, a recent safety analysis of ketamine therapy data concluded that ketamine use for treatment-resistant depression was associated with “mild, brief” side effects, including briefly “feeling strange or loopy.”

The primary consideration when it comes to safety is ensuring the provider has a lot of experience administering ketamine infusions. As a certified registered nurse anesthetist, Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP has extensive experience using ketamine to treat patients with emotional health issues, and a lot of experience adjusting the dose and treatment regimen to each patient’s specific needs.

Side effects to know about

That said, knowing what side effects can occur during ketamine infusion can help you decide if it’s a therapy you’d like to pursue for your treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, or PTSD. Like any medical treatment, ketamine does have some side effects. As noted above, these tend to be mild and brief, but they’re still worth knowing about.

The most common side effects of ketamine infusion include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Double vision
  • Mild confusion
  • Mild anxiety (dysphoria)

Rarely, ketamine use may cause more serious side effects, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Depressed breathing
  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Dissociation
  • Disorientation
  • Feelings of euphoria

Like other medicines, ketamine may also cause skin or respiratory problems in people who are allergic to the drug.

Prior to receiving any infusion, you’ll have a thorough exam and evaluation to determine if you have any health concerns that might make ketamine unsuitable. In general, ketamine is contraindicated in people who:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have been diagnosed with schizophrenia
  • Have demonstrated sensitivity to ketamine in past exposure

It’s also not recommended for anyone with an underlying medical problem that could be worsened by the potential elevation in blood pressure that can happen during treatment.

Find out if ketamine is right for you

Ketamine infusion is a safe, effective therapy for many people with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, or PTSD. If you’ve tried other therapies and they haven’t worked, ketamine could be the solution you’re looking for.

To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy and whether it’s a good choice for you, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.