Types of Ketamine | Ketamine Therapy for Depression

a physician talking with a woman wearing a white blouse
a physician talking with a woman wearing a white blouse

Ketamine Lozenges, IV Drips, Ketamine Nasal Spray: Understanding the Types of Ketamine

Ketamine is a drug with a long history of use as an anesthetic. It also has good success for treating mental health issues including anxiety, depression, OCD, and PTSD. In addition, it also helps treat severe migraines and chronic pain. Thanks to advancements in the mental health field, Ketamine treatments offer a rapid and notable effect on depression1, including the treatment-resistant type. If other medications or treatment options have failed to deliver relief from your symptoms, ketamine may be worth trying.

Before you receive ketamine therapy, it’s important to understand your treatment options. Ketamine comes in various forms. You should learn about these forms and their intended uses; that way, you and your doctor can determine which type fits your needs.

What Are the Different Ketamine Types?

Ketamine exists in several forms. The molecules in Ketamine are known as isomers, meaning they contain mirror-image sides. These are either left- or right-handed mirror images called S (-) and R (+) ketamine.

S and R ketamine metabolize differently in the brain and body. However, they work to do basically the same thing: block the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. This action helps increase glutamate in the brain. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter. It signals the brain cells to form new neural connections. As these new connections form, they help to reduce depression symptoms.

There are several different types of ketamine therapy from which you can choose.

They include:

  •  Ketamine lozenges
  •  Ketamine IV drips
  •  and Ketamine nasal spray.

Some forms of ketamine therapy may be more effective for certain people than others. Your healthcare provider may recommend one or more ketamine treatment types for you, depending on your needs.

Ketamine Lozenges

Ketamine lozenges or tablets are taken orally, by mouth. Unlike other forms of ketamine, they do not necessarily need to be taken in a clinical setting. These tablets are also known as sublingual troches. Ketamine lozenges may be taken in combination with other forms of ketamine for best results. Some people prefer ketamine lozenges over different types of ketamine because they’re more affordable. They also offer greater flexibility regarding when and how you take them.

In one study, 59% of patients who took sublingual ketamine lozenges for chronic pain saw an overall reduction in the use of analgesics2. Nearly 40% of those patients no longer use analgesics while taking sublingual ketamine. This illustrates that ketamine lozenges are an effective and safe analgesic to help with chronic pain management.

In addition, Ketamine lozenges dissolve directly underneath the tongue or on the side of the cheek. This means much of their active ingredients are immediately delivered to the bloodstream.

Ketamine IV Drips

Ketamine IV drips are a more popular type of ketamine treatment. They are given intravenously, so they quickly travel through the bloodstream to the brain. If you receive ketamine IV infusions, your doctor calculates how much to give you. This calculation is primarily based on your body weight. Your doctor may also consider your overall health and symptom severity when determining how much ketamine to administer.

Most ketamine infusions take 60 minutes or less to administer. They must be given in a controlled clinical setting. Many people respond very well to ketamine IV drips. One study shows that repeated ketamine infusions resulted in a 47.2% reduction in depression3.

Ketamine Nasal Spray

The drug used in ketamine nasal spray is called Esketamine. It’s derived from ketamine and makes waves for its impact on treatment-resistant depression. Esketamine nasal spray was approved in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration to treat major depression.

In one study, patients with treatment-resistant depression used Esketamine nasal spray and an oral antidepressant. The depressive symptoms of 70% of the patients who received the dual medications improved. In comparison, only a little over half of the placebo group experienced an improvement in their symptoms4.

Learn more about the differences between Esketamine vs traditional Ketamine infusions here>>

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine Treatments?

Ketamine improves mental wellness by targeting the brain and helping it make new connections. This method is much different from many other antidepressant and anti-anxiety medications. People who have already tried everything else often use ketamine as a last resort. Here are some of the benefits this unique treatment offers:

  • Improves mental wellness
  •  Creates new neural connections in the brain
  •  Rewires the brain
  •  Provides almost immediate relief from symptoms

Though ketamine is considered a somewhat new drug for treating mental health disorders, it has been around for a long time. Since 1970, this drug has been safely used as a sedative and has a long history of use. Though it was subsequently abused as a street drug dubbed “Special K,” it is very safe and effective when administered in a clinical setting. For people who have tried and failed to find relief from any other drug, ketamine is often the only solution that works. It can provide respite from seemingly never-ending grief. For this reason, some people view ketamine as a miracle drug for themselves or their loved ones.

What Are the Possible Side Effects of Different Ketamine Therapy Treatments?

Ketamine therapy is generally well-tolerated by most people. However, there are some potential side effects patients may experience. They include:

  • Nausea
  •  Double vision
  •  Drowsiness
  •  Dizziness
  •  Confusion

When these symptoms do appear, they don’t tend to last very long. Most patients no longer feel any symptoms within a few hours from administration. Rarer and more serious symptoms include intoxication, high blood pressure, headache, and dissociation. If you experience these types of symptoms, let your provider know immediately. To avoid side effects, it helps to thoroughly understand Ketamine Recovery and Aftercare steps to ensure you feel your best following your treatment.

Is There Anyone Who Shouldn’t Get Ketamine Treatments?

Ketamine may not be safe for everyone to take. People in the following groups may not be able to receive this treatment:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  •  Teenagers with still-developing brains
  •  People with a history of schizophrenia, psychosis, or other psychotic disorders
  •  Older adults with dementia symptoms
  •  People with past substance use disorders (ketamine can become addictive to these people)
  •  Children

There is also some concern that ketamine may begin to lose its effectiveness with repeated dosing. Therefore, if you have been receiving ketamine treatments for a long time, we may recommend that you stop receiving them for a while. Otherwise, with continued use, you may require a larger dose to continue receiving the same effect.

What Type of Ketamine Therapy Should You Choose?

It can be hard to choose between the different types of ketamine treatment. They all work in basically the same way. But they have other methods of administration and bioavailability rates. The most important thing you can do is describe your symptoms and medical history to your healthcare provider. Then, your provider will recommend the ketamine treatments that will likely work best for you. The cost of different ketamine treatments may also play an important role in the type you receive.

What Conditions Can Ketamine Treat?

Ketamine is most often prescribed for the treatment of severe depression, anxiety, or chronic pain. However, it can also treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidality, and other mental health disorders. There is even some evidence to suggest ketamine can be used to improve sleep and general mood6.

What Is the Bioavailability Rate of Ketamine Therapy?

Bioavailability refers to the rate of absorption of a drug into the bloodstream. The bioavailability rate is important to consider because it impacts how effectively a medicine can work. If a drug has poor bioavailability, the active ingredient in the drug can’t reach systemic circulation very well. As a result, it can’t perform its intended function very effectively. On the other hand, a drug with good bioavailability has the potential to be more effective.

In terms of bioavailability, IV ketamine is superior to all other forms. Since it is delivered directly into the bloodstream, it has a 100% bioavailability rate. Sublingual lozenges, on the other hand, have a 30% bioavailability rate. Esketamine nasal spray has a 45% bioavailability rate5. These different forms of ketamine may have varying bioavailability rates. But they all show success in treating depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.

It is interesting to compare ketamine to other common depression and anxiety medications. For example, valium is a popular medication that helps relieve anxiety. But the effects of valium only last while the drug is circulating in the body. As soon as it fades, the body is susceptible to rebound anxiety. But unlike valium, ketamine and Esketamine trigger lasting changes in the brain. These changes can lead to a reduction in unwanted symptoms. So, even when the ketamine wears off, its effects remain.

Schedule Your Ketamine Consultation in LA

If you’ve tried various medications for your mental health symptoms without success, don’t give up. Here at Ketamine Therapy LA, we have helped many patients like you. We use different types of ketamine therapy in Los Angeles, CA, to treat drug-resistant depression. We also use it to treat other common mental health conditions. We serve residents of Los Angeles, West Hollywood, and the surrounding areas. Contact us at (323) 650-9883 to schedule a consultation.

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