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What are The Success Rates of Ketamine In Treating Depression? 

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Peck
Reading Time: 4 minutes
Success Rate of ketamine

Depression has been acknowledged as the third leading cause of disability around the globe. Even if it is treated successfully, as many as 80% of patients report a relapse within next few years. To make matters even more worrisome, over 30% of diagnosed patients do not respond to at least two antidepressant medications and are subsequently diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression.

It is not an exaggeration to say that it is extremely taxing for anyone to survive under a constant cloud of hopelessness and mental/physical exhaustion that cripples their ability to interact with their surroundings daily.

Depression-related disorders affect not only patients but also the people who are part of their lives – which puts a strain on relationships. Fortunately, a recently-studied treatment is making ground-breaking strides in treating long-term depression and mood disorders.

What is the role of Ketamine?

Used as an anesthetic for decades in medical history, Ketamine has recently resurged as a popular dissociative drug, which has shown promise in treating depression. Especially in cases of treatment-resistant depression, the potential of Ketamine is undeniable and much-needed for people who have lost hope of ever feeling better.

Also cited as a lifesaving drug with up to 70% success rate, Ketamine has proven effective in people prone to suicidal thoughts.

Ketamine therapy is also effective for the treatment of patients suffering from depression combined with anxiety. Presently, ketamine therapy is administrated as intravenous infusions, nasal sprays, and pills – based on the recommendations of both primary and mental healthcare providers.

A brief history of Ketamine’s usage in medical history:

As we mentioned, Ketamine is a psychedelic drug – labeled as dissociative – which was discovered in the 1960s in Belgium as anesthetic medicine for animals.

In 1970, the FDA termed Ketamine safe for human consumption, and it was then used for treating injured soldiers during the Vietnam War. The drug has recently been studied for its potential to treat depression. It was revealed that even one dose of Ketamine can trigger rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects in patients.

However, a much lower amount of ketamine drug is used for the treatment of depression as compared to its dosage as an anesthetic.

The exact mechanism of action of Ketamine in treating depression is not yet completely known, but it is linked to changes in the signaling of the neurotransmitters; glutamate and GABA. Another theory suggests that the drug somehow repairs damaged nerve cell synapses, positively affecting a person’s mood and memory function.

How long does ketamine treatment last for depression?

The antidepressant effects of Ketamine typically last for several days to weeks, but the results can vary from person to person. Studies have shown that the severity of mental illness was significantly reduced within two weeks of the ketamine infusions. Most patients felt better as soon as the first dosage was administered.

On average, patients with mood disorders can feel better within hours of their third or fourth infusion. For people suffering from dark (self-harm/suicidal) thoughts, these negative feelings tend to dissipate first. These patients tend to undergo a more subtle and gradual recovery from depression-related disorders. Some patients reported an almost dramatic relief from self-destructive thought patterns. However, the positive implications were not so dramatically immediate for others.

Based on the individual conditions and severity of symptoms, the licensed healthcare providers at Nepenthe Wellness Center – located in Cedar Park, TX – can help draw a road map with duration and frequency of dosage that will suit each patient as per their unique condition. We offer intravenous ketamine therapy for a range of mental health concerns.

How does ketamine treatment compare to other treatments for depression?

Medical researchers say severe depression disorder is one of the most debilitating mental health conditions with fatiguing repercussions. Against these wearing mental concerns, the traditional pharmacotherapy treatment can take up to 4-12 weeks to show any marked improvement in the patients.

On the other hand, Ketamine is an N-methyl-D aspartate receptor antagonist, which produces faster results in countering depressive symptoms, offering rapid relief.

It is a non-traditional psychedelic, which is more predictive and helps you gain better control over your life. Repeated ketamine therapy in clinical settings has reportedly alleviated depression symptoms without negatively influencing cognitive abilities.

The treatment has even been known to promote valuable intuitive experiences that may include spiritual insights or lucid dreaming. Nevertheless, the ketamine dosage for depression should be carefully administered in controlled doses under a professional’s careful and regulated supervision.

It might be prudent to mention that extreme treatments like Electroconvulsive Therapy among patients with major depressive episodes can yield better results than ketamine infusions.

However, the consensus among healthcare practitioners is that treatment options should be customized based on each patient’s condition.

What is the success rate of Ketamine in treating depression?

Ketamine therapy repairs nerve cells to restore their function and induces euphoric and happy feelings in patients. Due to its rapid and longer-lasting effects, the therapy has been hailed as a miracle drug, but the success rates of ketamine infusions in patients vary.

Most sources cite its success rate as somewhere between 60-70%, which is pretty hopeful for patients battling depression for years. It must be highlighted that some patients do not respond to ketamine treatment, reflecting the overall average of the treatment’s success.

Aside from the non-respondent patients, the therapy has efficaciously yielded positive results in most cases.

Whether ketamine infusions are the right option for you is a discussion that you should consider with your primary and mental health doctors. It might not be suggested as a first treatment option, as it assists in better-managing symptoms rather than curing them outright. 

What are the side effects of ketamine therapy?

It is generally safe medication in most cases. However, the common side effects experienced by a few include;

  • Headache,
  • Intoxication,
  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea,
  • Sedation,
  • Dissociation,
  • High blood pressure,
  • Blurred vision.

It should also be noted that ketamine therapy is either avoided or used with extreme caution in cases of people who experience psychosis/schizophrenia, have a history of substance abuse, are teens, are pregnant or breastfeeding, and patients suffering from dementia.

Get Expert Help from Licensed & Expert Care Providers in a Comfortable Setting:

If you or a loved one is struggling with depression and wondering if intravenous ketamine therapy might just be the solution you seek, you can book a free consultation session with professionals at Nepenthe Wellness Center. We can assure you that if you are suited to the treatment, all those arduous and limiting symptoms will be relieved, and you will be back in the driver’s seat of your own life.

After reviewing the patient’s medical history, our experts will outline a treatment plan based on the patient’s unique requirements. The healthcare providers will decide the frequency and dosage of ketamine therapy in a manner that sustainably enhances your health.