Although originally developed as an anesthetic, ketamine is increasingly being used to treat depression. This is because some analyses were done based on the work of ketamine, and trends emphasized that the drug could be an effective antidepressant.
Study results of patients who used ketamine therapy showed significant improvement of depressive symptoms.
Ketamine therapy is the treatment of patients with mental health concerns and behavioral problems using ketamine. It is an emergency response given to patients that have, for example, been rescued from a suicide attempt. It is administered to the body through several forms, including:
A nasal spray called esketamine
It is a medical way for adults who have struggled with antidepressant pills but have not worked, patients with a very major depressive disorder, or those with suicidal thoughts.
IV infusion (Racemic Ketamine)
It is an intravenous way of treatment administered through a shot in the arm or lozenges. You can only get this infusion while at the doctor’s office. However, some doctors will prescribe lozenges for at-home use to help depressed patients respond well between the infusions.
Doctors’ most recommended and approved form of ketamine is the nasal spray. It is recommended for patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression and is administered by spraying it through the nose. Each nasal spray contains two sprays, one for each nostril.
The nasal spray device has two green dots, which means that the spray is full. If there is only one, then that means that one spray is used and if no green dot, then that means that the spray is fully utilized. By this, it is easier for a person to tell the available medication in the spray.
Patients typically continue with their antidepressants and receive the esketamine from the doctor’s office or clinic. It’s always good for patients to receive the medication while around the clinic so the health provider can watch over them for two hours or so after the dosage. The nasal spray is known to reduce suicidal thoughts and depressive symptoms rapidly.
It’s also important to note that after receiving the dosage, the patient should not drive or operate machinery since it has side effects such as; dizziness, headaches, fainting, chest pains, and shortness of breath.
Patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression usually get the nasal spray twice a week for one to four weeks. After that, the dosage reduces to once a week for five to nine weeks, then once every week or two after that.
Ketamine infusion therapy typically has only mild side effects, but these can include:
- Abnormal heart rates
- Dissociation (out of body experiences)
- Blood pressure elevations
- Perceptual disturbances (blurry vision, color textures, slowing or speeding up of time)
- Nausea and vomiting
The benefits of the nasal spray are significant too. These include;
- It is fast-acting – Helps patients get rapid relief. This is of help to the patient who mostly has suicidal thoughts. By taking the dosage, your thoughts are reversed fast, saving lives.
- It is relatively long-lasting – After taking the medication, it can work in the body for a relatively long time; hence patients may take a longer time to fall into depression again.
- It reduces depression symptoms.
Patients should always seek advice from a qualified health professional first. This is because qualified health personnel observe other conditions that may cause depression in these patients and may be able to give sensible advice, unlike a non-qualified health person. The doctor will also do a complete diagnostic evaluation and learn much about the patient.
Ketamine therapy is advisable for patients with treatment-resistant depression. The nasal spray is most recommended since it works fast and is readily available.