Taking other medications with Ketamine Treatment
Many patients receive Ketamine for depression. Many other patients seek treatment for other psychiatric diagnoses such as post-traumatic stress disorder. No matter the situation, people are often taking medication already prior to finding IV Ketamine.
This leads to the question: Does my pharmaceutical regimen prevent me from having infusions? And if it does, am I stuck in a “chicken and the egg,” situation where I can’t discontinue my meds but I still need Ketamine for even a chance at getting off of them?
The good news is that, in most cases, this can be worked out by your physician. Of course, you must disclose everything you are taking for them to analyze any possible interactions.
For instance, my doctors suggested I remain on my current medication regimen, with some temporary modifications around the treatment day itself. More on that below.
Maybe one day we will be able to lower our medications or even discontinue them? But, I don’t expect nor focus on that.
I don’t need to be PERFECT. I just want to be BETTER.
Should I tell my doctor about what I’m taking and using?
It is critical to inform your doctor of any and all medications, street drugs, and supplements you consume to ensure safe and effective treatment.
In my case, there are a couple of psychiatric medications that my doctor instructed me to refrain from taking within 12 hours of my IV Ketamine Infusion: Klonopin and Lamictal.
Usually prescribed for anxiety, Klonopin is a Benzodiazepine. Other drugs in this category include Valium, Xanax, and, Ativan.
Benzos and Ketamine Treatment
Usually prescribed for anxiety, Klonopin is a benzodiazepine. Other drugs in this category include Valium, Xanax, and, Ativan.
Benzodiazepines may interfere with Ketamine experiences, therapeutic benefits, and may present unexpected interactions. One theory is that because benzodiazepines work on NMDA receptors, they affect the Glutamate inhibitory system (regulated by GABA), which may interfere with Ketamine’s own mechanisms.
Unofficially, being off of “benzos” and going into Ketamine treatment may be ideal. Some doctors even recommend several weeks of discontinued benzodiazepine use prior to IV Ketamine treatments.
The problem is that many patients in need of Ketamine treatment are currently on a benzodiazepine and are unable to discontinue them due to severe withdrawal symptoms, which can be fatal.
In my case, I am still receiving Ketamine benefits despite long-term benzodiazepine use. If the 12-hour window is the reason, that’s fine with me!
The benzodiazepine dosage, length of use, and other factors may be important. Perhaps, because I use a small dose of Klonopin, the 12 hours window before my Ketamine treatment is enough to allow effective treatment.
Lamictal and Ketamine Treatment
Lamictal is often used for the treatment of Bipolar Depression. When it works, it is a useful anti-depressant unlikely to trigger Mania.
However, it may be another drug that inhibits Ketamine’s therapeutic effects.
This study reports Lamictal’s ability to suppress Ketamine’s dissociative symptoms and therefore may also reduce effectiveness.
Despite Lamictal’s apparent ability to reduce aspects of Ketamine’s impact, the study observed more significant mood elevations from Ketamine treatment with those still on their regular Lamictal regimen versus those who were not using Lamictal. This suggests that Lamictal and Ketamine may still be a synergistic augmentation combination for reasons not currently understood.