Is Ketamine Therapy Safe?

Once used as an anesthetic, ketamine has gained popularity in recent years as an effective treatment for people suffering from a wide array of treatment-resistant medical issues, including clinical depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. But despite its increasing use, many people don’t know how it works, leaving many wondering if it’s safe.

At Bowman Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California, our team offers ketamine therapy with Spravato®, a nasal spray that delivers a very precise dose of ketamine without using intravenous infusions. In this post, learn more about ketamine’s safety profile and potential side effects, so you can decide if it’s a therapy you’d like to pursue.

Ketamine’s unusual history

Ketamine has an interesting history. While its development occurred in the 1950s, ketamine received FDA approval in 1970, after which it was widely used as an anesthetic on the battlefields of Vietnam

By the 1980s, ketamine was well-established as an effective anesthetic. Unfortunately, because of its mildly hallucinogenic properties, it was also used as an illicit recreational drug.

Medically, ketamine remained relegated to its role as an anesthetic for many years, until researchers began to examine its effects in treating chronic pain and mental health issues, like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. 

Today, ketamine outpatient therapy is widely used to effectively manage these and other conditions, using careful dosing and vigilant monitoring for optimal effects and safety.

Ketamine therapy and safety

Ketamine’s history as an effective anesthetic means it also has a long safety profile in that setting. In fact, ketamine is even used as an anesthetic for pediatric patients. When used to treat mental health issues, a much lower dose is used, which means the potential for unwanted side effects also decreases. 

At our practice, we administer ketamine therapy right in our office using established safety protocols. After receiving the nasal spray, we monitor you for about two hours, allowing our team to check for side effects and ensure your therapy is working.

Immediately after treatment, you may feel tired and have mild symptoms of dissociation. Other potential side effects include:

Those effects dissipate within a couple of hours, but you still need to have someone drive you home. You also need to avoid driving or using heavy machinery for the rest of that day. 

Who shouldn’t take ketamine

Although ketamine can be a safe, effective therapy for many people, it’s not a good choice for everyone. Ketamine can cause temporary elevations in blood pressure, so it shouldn’t be used in anyone with hypertension or heart disease. It’s also not appropriate if you are pregnant, have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, or have a history of substance abuse.

Learn more about ketamine

Ketamine therapy can be a life-changing solution for people suffering from treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, bipolar disorders, and anxiety. To find out if Spravato is right for you, call 310-276-4003 to book an appointment with Bowman Medical Group today.

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