Ketamine for Mental Health: Does the Environment of Administration Matter?

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Ketamine for Mental Health: Does the Environment of Administration Matter?

Ketamine infusions are becoming increasingly available at freestanding outpatient clinics or via oral ketamine ingested at home, but are these options safe and effective? 

In recent years, ketamine has exploded onto the mental health scene due in large part to a groundswell of positive scientific studies. However, not all environments of administration of ketamine are equally effective or safe.  In this blog post, Dr. Karen Giles at Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions explores the environment of ketamine administration as a key decision for patients considering ketamine treatments. 

Typically, patients can find ketamine treatment options in a variety of locations:

  • At home via telehealth prescriptions for oral lozenges 
  • A freestanding clinic supervised by an anesthesiologist
  • A medical office supervised by a psychiatrist

When considering where to receive ketamine treatments it is important to consider the potential side effects. In general, ketamine for treatment-resistant depression is generally safe and well tolerated. For patients receiving IV ketamine, side effects generally peak within two hours of treatment and most of these side effects occur during treatment. 

Side effects can include:

  • dissociation
  • tachycardia 
  • temporary hypertension
  • nausea 
  • headache
  • dizziness

If patients are experiencing tachycardia, temporary hypertension, or nausea, a licensed medical professional is able to adjust your dose of ketamine or even end a treatment early, if needed. With oral lozenges at home, you are unable to stop or adjust your dose of ketamine based on side effects. For this reason, Dr. Giles strongly advises that patients do not explore at home ketamine use. 

All patients experience varying levels of dissociation during ketamine treatment. While this side effect is temporary, it often creates vivid, powerful experiences that patients need to process in order to feel safe and grounded. It is highly advised that patients have a required integration time of 15 - 30 minutes before leaving the clinic. For this reason, Dr. Giles strongly advises that patients avoid freestanding clinics that don’t provide psychological support or integration time. 

At Breakthru Psychiatric Solutions, all ketamine treatments are supervised by a licensed psychiatrist and a team of licensed nurses. Ketamine treatments are monitored for the duration of treatment to ensure dosing is appropriate and side effects are being managed quickly and effectively. Breakthru also requires patients to remain in office for 90 - 120 minutes and to bring someone to provide safe transport home to ensure safe integration after treatment. 

While there are lots of options both in how ketamine is administered and where ketamine is administered, Dr. Giles and the team at Breakthru have created the safest, most effective experience based on current scientific research and extensive experience. Dr. Giles specializes in interventional treatments such as ketamine IV infusions and Spravato for chronic and treatment-resistant depression. Contact us online or by phone to schedule a consultation with Dr. Giles and find out if ketamine or Spravato can resolve your treatment resistant depression today.