What To Know About Ketamine Infusion Side Effects

What To Know About Ketamine Infusion Side Effects

By KCLA | December 15th, 2022 |

Ketamine Infusion Therapy is considered a trusted treatment for helping individuals cope with mental health conditions. It is a highly effective, clinically proven, safe procedure for patients suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidal ideation or suicidality, other mood disorders, and pain conditions. Nevertheless, if you’re interested in pursuing Ketamine Infusion Therapy, it makes sense to wonder about ketamine infusion side effects and whether it’s a therapy that would be right for your needs. 

Unlike many conventional antidepressant treatments, Ketamine Infusion Therapy side effects tend to be minimal and short-lived. As a result, patients enjoy better quality relief without the additional challenges of weight gain, loss of libido, dry mouth, and other undesirable effects often associated with antidepressant medications. There are no known long-term ketamine treatment side effects when used in a clinical setting, and 80% of our patients at KCLA report lasting relief after just six infusions. 

Answers to Common Questions About Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Side effects are possible with Ketamine Infusion Therapy, however, they tend to be both mild and temporary. Here’s a quick look at the basics of ketamine therapy so you have a general idea of what to expect. 

Are Ketamine Infusions Safe?

Yes, ketamine is safe. Ketamine for depression has been researched thoroughly for more than 23 years, and ketamine has been used for sedation and other indications at much higher doses for over 53 years and has proven itself to be a very safe medicine. So safe, in fact, that it’s the preferred choice for pediatric anesthesia cases.

How Does Ketamine Affect the Brain?

Ketamine has profound effects on the brain, particularly when it comes to repairing damaged cells and recalibrating perceptions of pain. It also causes an increase in certain neurotransmitters that are involved in the forming of new neural pathways, which can lead to direct improvements in mood and sleep. 

Is Everyone a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?

No, not all patients are ideal candidates for this type of treatment. Those who are pregnant or who have a history of substance use behaviors, cardiovascular disease, or acute hypertension may be advised to seek out alternative therapies or address the pre-existing condition prior to starting ketamine. Ketamine can be good for substance-use disorder when incorporated into a larger treatment plan. Patients with schizophrenia, who have hallucinations or delusions, may also be unfit for treatment. 

Can You Drive Yourself Home from Ketamine Therapy?

No, you will need to have someone else drive you home from your appointment. That is due to possible IV ketamine infusion side effects like grogginess and dizziness, which make it unsafe to operate a vehicle. 

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine does not create any physiological dependency, unlike other substances such as alcohol, opiates (Percocet, Norco, etc), or benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, etc), which lead to a dangerous and potentially lethal withdrawal syndrome upon discontinuing. While ketamine does have a reputation for being abused in recreational settings, when given in a controlled clinical setting under a therapeutic protocol the risk of abuse is greatly diminished. 

Does Ketamine Cause Weight Gain?

No, there is no direct correlation between Ketamine Infusion Therapy and weight gain. This is contrary to many traditional antidepressant medications, which are often associated with weight gain that can be moderate or severe.

Visit our FAQ page for answers to more common questions about ketamine therapy.

Ketamine Side Effects

The most common short-term side effects of Ketamine Infusion Therapy are:

  • Dissociation during the infusion. This effect is expected, not harmful, and wears off within 10 minutes of the infusion’s end. Hardly a side effect, this enhances the benefit 
  • Feeling tired or groggy for the remainder of the day following the infusion
  • Nausea during or, more commonly, shortly after the infusion 
  • Dizziness immediately after, usually dissipating entirely within a couple of hours

During your free phone consultation, one of our dedicated treatment providers will discuss our protocols, benefits and common experiences of treatment, and potential short-term side effects so you can make a well-informed decision regarding treatment.

It is important to note that since we opened in 2014, we have administered many thousands of infusions and have not seen any negative long-term side effects from ketamine.

Managing the Side Effects of Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Most ketamine infusion side effects are temporary and gradually subside following treatment. And in most cases, any side effects go away completely after a full night of sleep. 

If a patient is concerned about potential short-term side effects, they can ask one of our providers for tips on minimizing or preventing them. For example, antiemetics may be helpful for IV ketamine therapy patients who are prone to nausea. 

If any of the side effects of Ketamine Infusion Therapy persist, become bothersome, or a patient has questions, we are always available to discuss and assist. If a patient is concerned about potential short-term side effects, they can ask one of our providers for tips on how to minimize or prevent them. For example, antiemetics may be helpful for IV ketamine therapy patients who are prone to nausea. Minor changes in the cardiovascular, respiratory, and other bodily systems may occur during an infusion in some cases. For instance, the blood pressure, pulse rate, or heart rate may increase. These changes in vital signs usually normalize without intervention soon after an infusion is completed, if not sooner. In some cases, medication may be used to minimize or prevent these side effects. Our care team is trained in managing any of these outcomes in a smooth and efficient manner.

Our team of experts provides ketamine therapy to patients from all over the United States and even other countries. Some of the local communities we care for include: Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Westwood, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey, Culver City, Westchester, South Bay, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, California, and surrounding locations. If you’re interested in learning more or scheduling a free phone consultation with one of our providers, contact us today.