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What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is dissociative anesthetic which has been in clinical use for over 50 years. At higher doses, ketamine serves as a remarkably safe anesthetic. In fact, due to its safety profile, ketamine was widely used during the Vietnam war by soldiers on the battlefield.  At lower doses, ketamine has been found to be helpful for mental health conditions, including cases of depression which have otherwise been treatment-resistant. In addition to treating depression, many clinicians are now using using ketamine to treat other mental health conditions such as anxiety. PTSD and OCD, as well as to treat chronic pain.

How does it treat depression?

The exact mechanism is not entirely understood. However, it is thought that ketamine blocks NMDA receptors in the brain, causing a surge in levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Ketamine also appears to increase levels of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), which helps to promote neuroplasticity of the brain.

How quickly does ketamine work?

When compared to other treatments for depression, such as antidepressants, which can take weeks to months to work,  ketamine is unique in that is fast-acting. If a patient responds to ketamine, they will typically experience some degree of relief in depressive symptoms immediately following a single treatment.  In addition to relieving depression, ketamine can also alleviate other mental health conditions such as anxiety, OCD and PTSD.

How is ketamine delivered?

Ketamine may be administered intransally, by sublingual lozenges, intramuscular injections, or by IV. Our clinic currently offers ketamine by intramuscular route.

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