Ketamine IV


Holistic Medical Care Clinic LLC are now offering ketamine IV infusion therapy. Ketamine was approved by the FDA in the 1970 as an anesthesia medicine. At lower doses it can help ease pain and it is administered to patients’ post-surgery to lessen the need for more addictive painkillers such as morphine. Now ketamine is proving to be a promising treatment for depression, anxiety, bipolar and other illnesses. Ketamine is on the world health organization (WHO) list of essential medicines. You can read one such study here

Ketamine has a history of being used as a recreational drug, also known as ‘KET’ or ‘special K’. When used in high doses ketamine can have tranquillizing and hallucinogenic effects. When abused, ketamine can change a person’s perception of time, sense and vision. They may hallucinate and feel out of touch with their surroundings, and also have a feeling of paralysis.

Ketamine IV infusion therapy is now being used to treat patients with drug-resistant depression. As ketamine is a generic drug, it has not been submitted to the FDA for approval, therefore it is being used ‘off label’. Both researchers and patients are reporting positive results. When administered by an expert in the correct doses, ketamine IV infusion treatment is relatively safe and effective for treating mental health and other issues. If you suffer from any of the following conditions and traditional treatments have failed to work, then it could be time to try ketamine IV infusion therapy –

  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar and unipolar depression            
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic migraines


Ketamine IV infusion therapy is an alternative to traditional antidepressant drugs, it can be used when a patient has tried traditional medication and it has failed to have any effect. The treatment is a mix of two mirror image molecules which are called ‘R’ and ‘S’ ketamine. Although ketamine has been used to treat mental health issues, our holistic psychiatrist will not prescribe it for children, or those patients experiencing active psychosis, mania or unstable cardiovascular disease.

Between 1999 and 2016, depression-related suicide rates have increased by over 30%. Ketamine works quicker than antidepressants and this is why some researchers feel that this could play an important role in preventing suicide. When a patient responds to ketamine, it can quickly reduce life threatening thoughts that lead to suicide. Current treatments for depression can take weeks to get into the system and have any effect.

With antidepressants, patients usually need to try various combinations of medication, before finding one which will bring them relief. Again, with support therapies like talk therapy, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the effects can take weeks or even months to work. Both TMS and ECT are used when other traditional methods fail, and ketamine is now also considered in this situation. With ketamine the effects can start to work straight away and last for many weeks.


SSRI medication like Lexapro and Zoloft work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Ketamine however works very different to SSRI medication. Ketamine is believed to repair damage to the brain, this damage is caused by cortisol and other long term stress hormones, which build up protein on the brain over time.


Racemic ketamine is administered straight into the patient’s bloodstream, this is done through an IV which is usually in the arm. The ketamine targets NMDA receptors in the brain, ketamine bonds to these receptors and it increases the amount of a select neurotransmitter called glutamate in the gaps between the neurons. Glutamate activates another receptor called AMPA receptors. NMDA and AMPA work together creating new molecules which help neurons to communicate along new pathways. This process is called synaptogenesis, and it effects mood, cognition and thought patterns. Researchers believe ketamine influences depression in other ways too, as it appears to reduce signals that trigger inflammation, which are also linked to mood disorders. It also appears to facilitate communication across specific areas of the brain, and is believed it works on all these areas at the same time, which is why ketamine is so effective. For a full in-depth explanation into how ketamine works, you can read here


We know this therapy is helping with depression, bipolar, and other mental health issues, so let’s take a look at some of the benefits of this treatment –

  • A significant increase in energy and mental acuity, and a decrease in anger and frustration
  • A significant reduction in your level of inflammation, from your very first infusion
  • A more stable state of mind, especially when recalling past traumatic   events
  • More clarity and not holding onto obsessive thoughts (current or from the past)


There are two stages to the ketamine IV therapy, the first is the induction phase, the patient will typically receive 6 infusions over a period of two to three weeks. After this, the maintenance phase begins, the patient will typically return to the holistic medical care clinic to receive one infusion every two to six weeks, depending on how they are responding to the treatment.

Most patients respond to the treatment within the first six infusions. If the patient fails to respond at all within the first six infusions, then it is unlikely they will respond to further treatment. The health care provider would at this point suggest an alternative.

However, patients who do respond and feel the effects of ketamine IV infusion therapy, are likely to continue with the treatment, and the treatment will continue to be effective over an extended period of time. After the initial six doses, the effects to further treatment will not be as dramatic, the subsequent treatments will in fact be sustaining the effects from the initial treatment.

It will then be up to the doctor and the patient to decide the future of the patient’s treatment, they could decide to continue with the treatment, stop the treatment or taper off. This will of course be a discussion between the patient and doctor, based on how the patients themselves are feeling.


Most drugs come with side effects ranging from mild to severe. Although the potential benefits of the treatment could outweigh the risks, our patients are counselled on the possible side effects of the treatment which can include –

  • A dream like feeling and/or drowsiness
  • Double or blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Jerky muscle movement/spasms
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep disturbances or insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Perceptual disturbances
  • Dissociation

The above side effects have been documented as transient or mild. They are temporary and taper off, very rarely would a patient opt to end treatment due to the side effects.


Patients who require frequent treatment sessions as well as long term ketamine treatment for depression, may experience additional side effects. More research is needed to document the long-term side effects, due to this, many mental health specialists will advise caution before prescribing long term ketamine treatment.


Studies have shown that when ketamine is taken in low doses, as it is with ketamine IV infusions, then it is not addictive. The dose required to treat depression is far lower than the required dose for anesthesia. Also, the drug will be administered by a health care professional in a controlled environment, therefore the potential for abusing the drug is nonexistent. Ketamine does however have addictive properties similar to opioids, therefore if a patient has a history of addiction, they should discuss this with the doctor before beginning the treatment.


Each year more than 13 million Americans suffer from severe depression. Up to 40% of those who seek help will not improve or make a full recovery by having standard antidepressant medications. This causes concern as they will be at risk of other health issues, including alcohol abuse, substance misuse and suicide. Ketamine IV infusion therapy offers hope to patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression and other health issues. If the treatment is successful, the patient could have a happy, healthy and more satisfying and productive life. Moreover, ketamine IV is known to have almost immediate results, therefore it would be ideal for bringing a patient out of a crisis, rather than spending months trying to find an effective combination of medications which would work for the patient’s individual needs. There is ongoing research into the long-term effects of ketamine IV infusion therapy, and this will further assist holistic medical care clinic in continually refining protocols.

To book an appointment at our Holistic Medical Clinic LLC call us now on – 813 398 0470