One of the main advantages of ketamine for clinical use is that it has a rapid onset of action which means a significant reduction of symptoms can be achieved within a very short period. Generally, the effects of a ketamine infusion can be felt within hours of treatment, and the peak effects are usually achieved within a few hours to a few days. But how long does the therapeutic impact of ketamine last?
What is Ketamine Therapy?
Ketamine therapy is a new and promising treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal ideations, as well as various chronic pain conditions.
While the exact mechanisms underlying ketamine’s therapeutic effects are not fully understood, it is thought to work by modulating the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including glutamate and GABA. This action helps to enhance the strength of synaptic connections between neurons.
Ketamine has also been shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays a vital role in synaptic plasticity and neuronal survival. This further suggests that ketamine’s therapeutic effects may be due, at least in part, to its ability to promote neuronal growth and connectivity.
The Ketamine Infusion Process
Ketamine is typically administered intravenously (IV) in a clinical setting, although it can also be given intranasally (IN) or orally. When given as an infusion through an IV line, a single treatment session normally lasts between 40 minutes and one hour.
The ketamine treatment process generally consists of a series of infusions given over several days. The number of infusions will vary from person to person, but most people will need at least 6 to 8 infusions to experience partial or complete remission from their symptoms.
The dosage will also be individualized, based on factors such as the person’s weight, age, and condition being treated. After the initial treatment phase is completed, some people may need to have maintenance ketamine infusions every few weeks or on an as-needed basis to sustain the therapeutic effect and keep the symptoms at bay.
What Conditions Does Ketamine Help Manage?
Ketamine infusion therapy has proven to be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and suicidal ideations.
In addition to its mental health applications, ketamine has shown great promise as a treatment for chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic regional pain syndrome, and neuropathic pain. It is also being investigated as a possible treatment for other conditions such as eating and substance abuse disorders.
Although ketamine therapy is still an off-label treatment, the research on its efficacy has shown great promise, with many people reporting significant improvements in their symptoms after just a few infusions.
How Long Can The Therapeutic Effects of a Ketamine Infusion Therapy Last?
It is important to note that everyone responds to ketamine differently, and therefore the duration of the effects will vary from person to person. Although the medication can completely leave the system within hours of treatment, its therapeutic effects can last much longer.
Ketamine metabolizes quickly in the liver and is mostly excreted through the urine within 10-12 hours. However, its therapeutic effects can last several days, weeks, or even months.
It is thought that the length of time that ketamine’s therapeutic effects last is due to its ability to promote a “healing effect” on the brain. This means that ketamine doesn’t just provide temporary relief from symptoms but actually helps to “rewire” the brain and correct the underlying imbalances that are causing the symptoms in the first place.
The Bottom Line
Although more research is needed to fully understand ketamine’s long-term benefits, available evidence suggests that it can provide rapid and often long-lasting relief from severe and treatment-resistant mental health and chronic pain conditions.
If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health condition or chronic pain, ketamine therapy may be an option worth considering. Talk to your doctor or a qualified ketamine provider to see if it could be right for you.