4 Ways to Administer Ketamine for Therapy

4 Ways to Administer Ketamine for Therapy

August 18, 2021

There are multiple methods for administering ketamine during psychedelic therapy. Here are 4 different ways that the treatment can be given.

IV Infusion

Intravenous Infusion is the most common method for administering ketamine. A catheter is inserted into the patient's vein and a small amount of ketamine is delivered directly into the bloodstream. Treatment takes place in a tranquil environment with dim lighting and ambient music. An experienced medical professional is on hand to monitor the patient and adjust the dosage as needed. Typically, patients receive six infusions over the course of two to four weeks. Any dissociative effects dissipate within minutes of the treatment’s end.

IM Injection

Intramuscular injections are administered into the thick muscles of your arm, hip, thigh, or buttocks. IM Injections are fast-acting but are slightly slower than IV infusions. With IM injections, the medical ketamine is administered all at once. Ketamine cannot be titrated down once injected unlike IV infusions which can be stopped at any time. It is generally advised to opt for IV infusions over IM injections.

Lozenges

Ketamine can be administered orally by taking a lozenge. The patient places a ketamine lozenge under their tongue and allows it to dissolve for ten to fifteen minutes. Lozenges are an inexpensive alternative to infusions as they don't require specialized equipment or a physician trained in anesthesiology. With the permission of a doctor, patients may even administer the treatment themselves.

The downside of lozenges is that the rate ketamine gets delivered to the patient's brain is usually slow and variable. This means that only a fraction of the dose will make it to the brain, with about 84% metabolized into other chemicals. With lozenges, the positive effects of ketamine therapy may be less. And for some patients, lozenges alone may not provide long-lasting relief. Lozenges may be used to supplement IV infusions, prolonging their effects and increasing the time between “booster” sessions.

Nasal Spray

Nasal sprays are another alternative to ketamine infusions. Like lozenges, nasal sprays are generally less expensive, and may be self-administered with a doctor’s permission.

Nasal sprays are less common because they can be very imprecise. The condition of the patient's nose and the accuracy of their aim affects both dosage and rate of absorption.

The Ketamine Advocacy Network uses the metaphor of baking a cake. It’s not enough to have the correct ingredients. To bake a delicious cake, you also need control over the amount of each ingredient and how hot the oven is. Nasal sprays and lozenges don’t give your doctor the same level of control that IV infusions do. It is advised to opt for IV infusions over other forms of administration. It is the most popular and effective method.

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