Friday, March 15, 2024

Should I Consider At-Home Ketamine Therapy?

In March 2019, the FDA granted approval for the use of ketamine in treating depression, marking a pivotal moment in mental health treatment. Since then, psychedelics, including ketamine, have gained recognition for their therapeutic potential in addressing mental disorders. These substances operate on distinct mechanisms compared to traditional antidepressants like Prozac, exhibiting high efficacy and a low-risk profile. However, the rise of at-home ketamine therapy, where patients can order and self-administer ketamine, raises concerns that demand careful consideration.

At-home ketamine therapy has become accessible, allowing individuals to order ketamine online and have it delivered to their doorstep. While expanding access to different forms of therapy is commendable, the potential risks associated with at-home ketamine use should not be overlooked. In this discussion, we aim to shed light on the challenges and potential pitfalls of this approach.

How does at-home ketamine "therapy" work?

The process typically involves an online search for companies offering at-home ketamine services. Patients may or may not engage in consultations with clinicians before receiving prescribed regimens for oral ketamine use. However, the guidance provided appears to vary widely, with some relying on automated apps for check-ins. While some companies may excel in their approach, others seem more focused on profit rather than ensuring effective, safe, and properly guided mental health care.

IV and oral at-home ketamine "therapy" are not the same

At Transcend, we prioritize intravenous (IV) ketamine for its safety and efficacy. The comparison between IV ketamine and at-home oral ketamine highlights crucial differences:

IV Ketamine:

- Most studied and supported form in the scientific community

- 100% bioavailable

- Predictable dose and experience

- Ability to stop an infusion

- Precision in dose titration

- Monitored setting with a Registered Nurse

Oral At-Home Ketamine:

- Less effective with delayed onset

- 20-25% bioavailable

- Less predictable experience

- No ability to halt or retract a dose

- Limited guidance on proper use and patient-specific dosing

- Potential for abuse and harm to self and others

While oral ketamine may seem attractive, especially for immediate responses to acute issues, its limitations should be acknowledged. The current literature emphasizes the experimental nature of oral ketamine, urging caution until more high-quality studies become available.

Ketamine, in its various forms, stands as a safe and effective intervention for mental disorders. The increasing use of ketamine and psychedelics is a positive trend, providing transformative therapy for mental health. However, the business of at-home ketamine delivery raises concerns, with the potential for exploitation of its lucrative nature.

Considering the allure of using ketamine at home, it's essential to ponder its effectiveness and safety. What happens in challenging situations, and where is the guidance of a trained professional? At Transcend, we emphasize the importance of a curated environment that prioritizes support, safety, and efficacy throughout the ketamine therapy experience. As the popularity of at-home ketamine use grows, we urge individuals to ask critical questions and exercise caution before embarking on this potentially transformative but nuanced therapeutic journey.

Should I Consider At-Home Ketamine Therapy?
March 15, 2024
Kelly Light
RN, Director of Growth, Austin Clinic Manager