Has been used as an anesthetic since the 1960s. Fairly recently, it has come into use for people with Treatment-resistant depression and people with other diagnoses, like bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
Several studies showed that patients who received Ketamine infusions had a significant decrease in symptoms associated with depression after only 24 hours. In many studies, it is effective for people whose depression symptoms have not responded to other treatments. Please understand that a much lower dose of ketamine is given for depression than those necessary for anesthesia.
It is not entirely clear how Ketamine works. Because it exerts an antidepressant effect through a new mechanism, Ketamine may be able to help people successfully manage depression when other treatments have not worked.
Ketamine is believed to target N methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain. By binding to these receptors, Ketamine appears to increase the amount of neurotransmitters called glutamine in the space between neurons. Glutamate then activates connections in another receptor called the AMPA receptors.
Together with the initial blockade of NMDA receptors and the activation of AMPA receptors, Ketamine leads to the release of other molecules that help neurons communicate with each other along new pathways. Known as synaptogenesis, this process likely affects mood, thought process, and cognition.
Ketamine may also influence depression in other ways, such as reducing signals involved in inflammation which have been linked to mood disorders or facilitating communication within specific areas in the brain.
Please understand. Not everyone is a candidate for Ketamine infusions. Ketamine may not be effective in every individual. With intravenous Ketamine, patients usually respond to it within one to three treatments. If a patient does not respond at all to those initial treatments, further infusions are most likely to be ineffective.
Most experts agree that Ketamine works best with a larger treatment plan which involves possible ongoing use of antidepressant medication and talk therapy.
The treatments are typically given twice a week for up to six treatments. This may vary depending on individual needs and responses.