Common Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment | IV Ketamine Treatment

Common Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment

side effects of ketamine treatment

It’s Important to Consider the Side Effects of Any Depression Treatment You Consider

Treatment-resistant depression impacts your life everyday. Often, patients are eager to try any treatment that could offer them relief. Ketamine has been growing in popularity as a treatment for depression. Everything is associated with risks; therefore, it is hardly surprising that the use of ketamine to treat depression is also associated with risks. This article specifically examines side effects that may occur during and after sessions in which ketamine is used to treat depression.

Common Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment

The most common side effects, occurring during the initial four hours after a ketamine session, include sleepiness, dizziness, poor coordination, and blurred vision. Dissociative symptoms, such as feelings of strangeness or unreality, may also occur. Impairment of attention, concentration, along with other cognitive functions may result from the sleepiness and other side effects. Anxiety may occasionally occur. Breathing functions, however, are not affected by ketamine.

Cardiovascular Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment

Ketamine increases the heart rate and blood pressure (BP). In one study that pooled information from 205 ketamine sessions in 97 depressed patients, nearly 30 percent of patients had a transient rise in heart rate above 110 beats/min, or rise in systolic BP above 180 mm Hg, or rise in diastolic BP above 110 mm Hg. On average, however, ketamine raises the heart rate by only around 10 beats/min and BP by only about 5-10 mm Hg. These cardiovascular changes usually normalize well within 1-2 hours of the ketamine session.

Rare Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment

Very rarely, ketamine may produce a short-lasting disturbance of perception, including hallucinations. Whereas urinary bladder inflammation may occur when ketamine is taken by drug abusers in frequent, large doses for long periods, these problems have not been reported when the drug is used in single sessions or a few repeated sessions in low, subanesthetic doses, as in the treatment of depression.

A switch into mania, which is known to occur with other antidepressant drugs, is rare with ketamine. In patients who were contacted eight months to six years after their last ketamine infusion, no long-term, persistent side effects were identified.

Discontinuation Due to Side Effects of Ketamine Treatment

Given the potential benefits of ketamine, the side effects are generally viewed as minor. It is rare for side effects to result in discontinuation of ketamine therapy. For example, in the study of 205 ketamine sessions, referred to earlier, only four sessions had to be discontinued because of side effects. Another study that combined results from nine ketamine trials with 234 patients found no significant difference in study discontinuation rates between ketamine and comparison groups.

Ketamine an Acceptable Treatment According to the Average Patient

Ketamine-related side effects are seldom distressing or troublesome. For the most part, they are mild, occur during the ketamine session, and disappear on their own within one or more hours after the ketamine session. They are easily treated if bothersome, and can be prevented, through the use of anti-adrenergic drugs in patients who experience large increases in heart rate or BP. The average patient rates ketamine as a very acceptable treatment.

No Ketamine Addiction in a Clinical Setting

Ketamine abuse is not of concern when ketamine is administered in therapeutic contexts. This is because the administration of the drug is controlled by the physician. Patients do not experience craving, withdrawal symptoms, or other drug abuse phenomena.