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Ketamine Treatment for Depression: Cost, Side Effects, and What to Expect

Ketamine is a drug that has been used as an anesthetic for decades. In recent years, it has also been investigated as a treatment for depression. Ketamine has been shown to be effective in treating treatment-resistant depression, which is depression that has not responded to other treatments. In this article, I will discuss the cost, side effects, and what to expect from ketamine treatment for depression

Ketamine Treatment for Depression

In recent years, the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression has gained significant attention. This breakthrough therapy offers new hope for individuals struggling with treatment-resistant depression.

Traditional treatments for depression include medication and therapy. These treatments do not work for everyone. In some cases, people with depression may not respond to medication or therapy (treatment-resistant depression), or they may experience side effects that are too severe.

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has been used for decades in medical and veterinary settings. However, its potential as a rapid and effective treatment for depression has only recently been discovered. Ketamine treatment can provide rapid relief of symptoms, and it is often used in people who have not responded to other treatments.

ketamine treatment for depression

How does ketamine work?

The exact mechanism of action of ketamine in depression is not fully understood. However, it is thought to work by blocking the NMDA receptor, a type of glutamate receptor that is involved in the regulation of mood. Ketamine also appears to increase the levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that is involved in the growth and repair of neurons.

Types of ketamine treatment for depression

There are two main types of ketamine treatment for depression: intravenous (IV) infusion and intranasal (nasal) spray.
  • IV infusion: This is the most common type of ketamine treatment for depression. Ketamine is infused into a vein over a period of 40-60 minutes.
  • Nasal spray: This is a newer form of ketamine treatment for depression. Ketamine is delivered as a nasal spray, which is absorbed into the bloodstream through the nose.

Cost of ketamine treatment

The cost of ketamine treatment for depression can vary depending on the treatment approach, the clinic you go to, and your insurance coverage. However, in general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1,500 per infusion.

IV Ketamine Infusion

The cost of an IV ketamine infusion for depression typically ranges from $500 to $1,500 per infusion. The number of infusions needed will vary depending on the individual patient, but most people require a series of six infusions.

Nasal Spray

The cost of a nasal spray for ketamine for depression typically ranges from $500 to $1,000 per month. The nasal spray is typically dosed twice a day, so the monthly cost can be significant.

How to save money on ketamine treatment for depression

There are a few things you can do to save money on ketamine treatment for depression:
  • Ask your doctor about financial assistance programs: There are a number of financial assistance programs that can help you pay for ketamine treatment. Your doctor may be able to help you find a program that is right for you.
  • Consider using a nasal spray: The nasal spray is typically less expensive than IV infusions.
  • Look for a provider who offers discounts: Some providers offer discounts to patients who pay in cash or who have a high deductible.
  • Consider getting treatment at a clinic that offers group discounts: Some clinics offer discounts for patients who get treatment as part of a group.

What to expect after ketamine treatment for depression

The effects of ketamine treatment for depression are typically short-lived. However, some people experience a sustained improvement in their symptoms after treatment. The duration of the improvement varies from person to person.

Here are some of the things you can expect after ketamine treatment for depression:
  • Improved mood. Many people report feeling an improvement in their mood within hours or days of ketamine treatment. This improvement can be dramatic, and some people report feeling like their old selves again for the first time in years.
  • Reduced anxiety. Ketamine can also help to reduce anxiety. This is often a welcome side effect for people who have been struggling with both depression and anxiety.
  • Increased energy. Some people also report feeling more energy after ketamine treatment. This can make it easier to get things done and enjoy life again.
  • Improved concentration. Ketamine can also improve concentration. This can be helpful for people who have been struggling with difficulty concentrating due to depression.
  • Increased motivation. Ketamine can also increase motivation. This can make it easier to start and complete tasks, and to make positive changes in your life.
In addition to these positive effects, some people may also experience some side effects after ketamine treatment for depression, such as:

Side effects of ketamine treatment for depression

  • Drowsiness. Ketamine can cause drowsiness, so it's important to plan to rest after your treatment. You may also feel like you need to sleep more than usual for a few days.
  • Confusion. Ketamine can also cause confusion, so it's important to avoid making any important decisions or signing any important documents for 24 hours after your treatment.
  • Dissociation. This is a feeling of detachment from oneself and one's surroundings. It can be mild or severe, and it usually goes away on its own within a few hours.
  • Visual disturbances. Some people experience visual disturbances, such as seeing bright lights or colors, after ketamine treatment. These disturbances are usually temporary and go away on their own.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Some people experience nausea and vomiting after ketamine treatment. If you do experience these side effects, your doctor may prescribe medication to help.
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound. Some people feel more sensitive to light and sound after ketamine treatment. If you do experience this, it's best to avoid bright lights and loud noises for a few hours after your treatment.
Here are some tips for aftercare after ketamine treatment for depression:
  • Get plenty of rest. It's important to rest after ketamine treatment. This will help your body and mind to recover from the treatment.
  • Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery. Ketamine can impair your judgment and coordination, so it's important to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery after treatment.
  • Stay hydrated. Ketamine can cause dehydration, so it's important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs. Ketamine can interact with alcohol and drugs, so it's important to avoid these substances after treatment.
  • Talk to your doctor. If you have any concerns about the side effects of ketamine treatment, be sure to talk to your doctor. They can help you manage any side effects and make sure that ketamine treatment is safe for you.

Safety of ketamine treatment

Ketamine is generally considered to be a safe drug. However, other than the above-mentioned side effects of ketamine treatment for depression there are some potential risks associated with it, including:
  • Addiction: Ketamine has a low potential for addiction. However, some people may become dependent on ketamine if they use it too often.
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate: Ketamine can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This is usually not a cause for concern, but it is important to be aware of it.
  • Psychosis: In rare cases, ketamine can cause psychosis, a mental illness that is characterized by hallucinations and delusions.
  • Seizures: In rare cases, ketamine can cause seizures.
Long-term safety:

There is some concern about the long-term safety of ketamine treatment for depression. Some studies have shown that ketamine can cause changes in brain structure and function, but it is not clear if these changes are permanent or harmful. More research is needed to understand the long-term safety of ketamine treatment for depression.

Here are some things you can do to reduce the risks of ketamine treatment:
  • Be sure to get ketamine treatment from a qualified medical professional.
  • Let your doctor know about any other health conditions you have.
  • Be honest with your doctor about your drug use history.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions carefully.
The effects of ketamine treatment for depression can vary from person to person. Some people may experience a complete remission of their symptoms, while others may only experience a partial improvement.

Ketamine treatment is not a cure for depression, and it's not a substitute for regular psychotherapy or medication. However, ketamine treatment can be a helpful addition to these treatments, and it can provide significant relief for people who are struggling with treatment-resistant depression.

Please note that ketamine is a powerful drug and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

Research findings on ketamine treatment for depression

There have been several studies that have investigated the effectiveness of ketamine treatment for depression. Overall, the research suggests that ketamine is an effective and safe treatment for depression, especially for people who have not responded to other treatments.

The PMC article on the Efficacy of ketamine therapy in the treatment of depression summarises that ketamine can be a quick and effective treatment for severe depression. It is well-tolerated and can be given as an IV infusion. Although more research is needed to confirm these findings, ketamine is a promising new treatment option for patients with severe depression.


Ketamine treatment represents a groundbreaking advancement in the management of depression, offering renewed hope for those grappling with this challenging condition. With its rapid onset of action, enhanced treatment response, and potential for long-lasting effects, ketamine therapy has the potential to transform the lives of individuals living with depression.

While considerations and potential risks exist, the benefits of ketamine treatment cannot be overlooked. As scientific knowledge expands and accessibility increases, ketamine treatment has the potential to transform countless lives, offering a brighter future for those living with depression.


What is the difference between IV infusion and nasal spray ketamine treatment?

The main difference between IV infusion and nasal spray ketamine treatment is the way that the ketamine is delivered. IV infusion is a more intense treatment, and it is typically administered in a medical setting. Nasal spray ketamine treatment is a less intense treatment, and it can be administered at home.

How many ketamine treatments do I need?

The number of ketamine treatments that you need will depend on your individual circumstances. Some people may need only one or two treatments, while others may need more.

How long do the effects of ketamine treatment last?

The effects of ketamine treatment typically last for a few days to a few weeks. However, some people experience a sustained improvement in their symptoms for several months.

Is ketamine treatment covered by insurance?

Insurance coverage for ketamine treatment varies from plan to plan. Some plans may cover ketamine treatment, while others may not. It is important to check with your insurance company to see if ketamine treatment is covered.

I hope this article has been informative. Please let me know if you have any other questions.


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