Have you heard about Ketamine as a treatment for depression?

Recently Ketamine therapy has gone mainstream as a treatment for depression. Many are asking, what is ketamine and how does it help depression. Today, we are here to break it all down for you to understand how it helps and who can benefit.

Ketamine got its start in Belgium in the 1960s as an anesthesia for medicine for animals. It was approved in 1970 as an anesthetic for people and was used in the Vietnam War to treat injured soldiers.

Eventually, emergency responders would administer it to agitated individuals, especially those who had attempted suicide. This is when medical professionals realized that ketamine had powerful effects on mood and depression in humans.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine causes a “dissociative experience” AKA what most people would call a “trip.” You may have heard of ketamine in the club scene referred to as Special K, Super K, Vitamin K or K. It became a popular drug for partygoers and people would inject it, snort it, add it to drinks or joints.

When taking ketamine, the user will feel euphoric- a buzz or feelings of unreality in their own body. The trip typically lasts about two hours.

Researchers have extensively studied it’s use for the treatment of depression, and it was approved in March 2019 for medical use. Doctors have developed a specific protocol that is medically supervised, and it is not recommended to take on your own for treatment of depression.

How does Ketamine help depression?

The ketamine medication that has been FDA approved since March 2019 is called Spravato. It is administered as a nasal spray and is used for adults who suffer from treatment resistant depression, major depressive disorder or suicidal thoughts or actions. Treatment resistant depression (TRD) is a failure to respond to at least two different types of antidepressants for a period longer than 4 weeks at the maximum recommended dosage.

Spravato is a prescription medication, used alongside an antidepressant taken by mouth to treat depression. The patient receives Spravato in a medical office being monitored by a medical professional for two hours after the medication is received.

Spravato is proven effective and fast acting: 70% of patients are less likely to experience a relapse of depressive symptoms, improvements can be seen in 24 hours, and patients experience a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms by the end of their treatment.

The typical treatment plan for Spravato is 2 doses weekly for the first 4 weeks, 1 dose weekly for the next 4 weeks, and dosage every 1-2 weeks after that dependent on the patient needs.

How does it work?

When administered through the nose, Spravato immediately impacts your brain cells providing relief from depression. Spravato is fast acting and patients can see results in as little as 24 hours.

Spravato boosts glutamate, already the most plentiful neurotransmitter in the brain. When this happens, it begins exciting cells in the brain, encourages learning functions, boosts memory, and trains your brain to become comfortable with this new state, helping to battle the symptoms of depression.

Learn more about patients experience here and here

Emerald Psychiatry is now offering Spravato to patients experiencing treatment resistant depression. Call us today at 614-580-6917 to learn more and see if Spravato may be right for you.