Here’s What You Should Consider Before Trying Ketamine At Home

Here’s What You Should Consider Before Trying Ketamine At Home

By KCLA | February 24th, 2022 |

Starting ketamine at home can be an extremely helpful way to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions, but it is not without its risks. As ketamine continues to gain popularity as an alternative approach to more traditional modalities such as antidepressant medications, many individuals are considering ketamine treatments that can be done at home. 

However, at-home ketamine treatment poses many potential issues since it is not provided in a professional, safe, and supportive environment. Ketamine depression treatment requires expertise on the medicine, this unique application of it, the possible side effects, how to administer it in a comfortable fashion, what dosages should be given over what time, how to manage side effects and adverse outcomes, and more. Below, we’ll discuss the various factors you should consider before pursuing at-home treatment, and what benefits you can experience by choosing to have ketamine infusion therapy done by medical professionals in an accredited clinic. 

Ketamine Used To Treat Depression: Should I Do It At Home, Or In A Clinic?

Additionally, the route of administration (ROA) is very important for therapeutic benefit. At home, nasal spray (intranasal ROA) or lozenges (sublingual ROA) are the two that are most common. Both are about half as effective as IV infusions. Even when you account for the difference in bioavailability, the amount of medicine that is absorbed into the blood, the processes that occur and the effects the medicine have are quite different. For example, 50mg intravenously might require an equivalent dose of 200 mg sublingually due to the difference of bioavailability, but the benefits of IV are still unmatched. There are unique experiential effects and biochemical processes that occur when patients receive a slow, gradual IV infusion over 55 minutes. This is the gold standard of this care. 

When ketamine is used to treat depression and other mood disorders, it is best administered under the guidance and supervision of a trained healthcare professional in a safe, serene environment. Some people who suffer from depression may want to receive the medicine in the comfort of their own home, which can be perceived to be a safer, more comfortable environment. However, while this method may appear as a more convenient, cost-effective way to receive ketamine treatments, at-home treatment has potential for dangerous, traumatic, or even fatal adverse reactions that could exacerbate a patient’s depressive or anxious symptoms, or worse.

Like any drug, ketamine has side effects, and the management of these can be difficult in a home environment. Patients self-administering ketamine at home may not know the full extent of the side effects, or what to do if they occur. Ketamine’s side effects can be frightening and potentially dangerous when improper dosing is administered. While most side effects are harmless and dissipate rather quickly and ketamine is very safe when used responsibly in a clinical environment, individuals may experience difficulty walking, difficulty speaking, imbalance, confusion, nightmares, anxiety, paranoia, PTSD, flashbacks, insomnia, memory impairment, panic, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and abdominal pain. Though uncommon and/or generally tolerable, if any of these side effects happen to occur in a clinic, professional healthcare providers have the skills and knowledge to help you through them. When at home, patients are vulnerable.

Many new companies offering at-home ketamine treatments do not adequately screen patients nor do they attempt to assess patients' reactions to ketamine in a clinical setting before issuing a prescription. This is a very concerning practice. KCLA prescribes ketamine lozenges to a very small subset of patients in order to extend their benefit from infusions in the event it is robust but brief. Patients must have already completed a full series of infusions, enabling a clear understanding of their reaction to ketamine and the ideal starting dose for their troches. 

Ketamine Infusion Therapy At Ketamine Clinics

To ensure peace of mind and to receive the best results from ketamine infusion therapy, seek out treatment from a professional healthcare facility or accredited clinic. Ketamine infusions conducted in a professional, safe and regulated environment can significantly reduce unwanted side effects, risk, and in the rare cases where a patient experiences an extreme reaction, support can be provided immediately.

At Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles, ketamine infusions are administered in a state-of-the-art facility. The ketamine infusion procedure begins with the patient relaxing in a comfortable infusion chair in a private room where they will be connected to various monitors, including blood pressure, oxygen, pulse, and EKG.

The expert IV starters will locate a suitable vein on the patient’s arm, wrist, or hand. Once the vein is located, they will safely insert a small needle with a tube beneath the skin’s surface. This part is typically painless, with many patients reporting they don’t feel any pain at all. 

After the IV has been established, the needle is removed, leaving only the small tube in the arm. The tube is then connected to a syringe, with the tailored dose placed in a special digital syringe pump. This digital alternative to IV bags can be precisely programmed to administer the medicine at a fine-tuned rate, allowing your care team at KCLA to adjust the infusion with just the push of a button.

Each infusion lasts 50-55 minutes, and patients are provided fresh blankets, pillows, an eye mask, and noise-canceling headphones with relaxing music. Once the infusion is complete and the patient is stable, the IV is removed and a small bandage is placed over the IV site.

If you or someone you care for is in need of ketamine infusion therapy, consider a ketamine clinic that will administer the drug in a safe, clean, and comfortable environment with dedicated experts by your side.