Ketamine Infusion: How it Works and What to Expect

What is Ketamine infusion therapy?

Receiving a Ketamine infusion means receiving liquid Ketamine into the bloodstream via an intravenous needle. There are several ways to ingest Ketamine, and this is the most common.

Ketamine for depression and pain

Since the earliest days of Ketamine’s discovery and manufacture in the 1960s, it has been used as an anesthetic agent. In addition to putting the patient into a state of unconsciousness, it also:

  1. Creates an inability to move, aiding in the body’s stability during operations
  2. Suppresses pain
  3. Exerts minimal influence on the cardiovascular system, maintaining blood pressure and blood oxygenation
  4. Is less likely to produce “emergence syndrome” than its predecessor phencyclidine, aka PCP or “angel dust”
  5. Does not require temperature-controlled storage
  6. Imparts amnesia around traumatic events, whether surgeries or other situations that may otherwise lead to PTSD
  7. Is short-acting, allowing the patient to return to consciousness quickly
The surprise is that Ketamine has other applications besides anesthesia and often does not require anesthetic level dosage.

For instance, many common psychiatric conditions are now treated with Ketamine infusion therapy. Most widely known is the surprising effectiveness of IV Ketamine for Depression. This exciting discovery is its “claim to fame,” but progress against post-traumatic stress disorder (both preventing it and soothing it) is another potential use.

In fact, some patients report how the disassociative properties of the chemical help them see their traumas from a different perspective. And, this ability to process traumatic material while being “detached” from their overwhelming thoughts and emotions of daily life can provide unusual relief.

Treating bipolar disorder with Ketamine is also becoming more frequent. Many bipolar sufferers go through long stretches of severe depression that is hard to break. Ketamine treatments can sometimes break those dark seasons and bring the person out of what would otherwise be a long time of sadness and dysfunction.

Applying Ketamine to Anxiety might also be of use. Similarly, in anxiety disorders, Ketamine and OCD manifest a condition and treatment association. There is not much data about Ketamine hydrochloride’s success rate with these conditions, but many patients are undergoing trial runs. The idea is that if the risks are low, it may be worth a try. One’s physician will collaborate with their patient to make that determination.

In any psychiatric situation, the possibility of suicide is of the most immediate concern. Unfortunately, there are no psychiatric medications that are immediately effective at calming suicidal thoughts. The fact that Ketamine helps with suicidal thoughts is incredible in itself. But, the fact that it can do so in minutes is genuinely extraordinary. Both physicians and patients alike are hopeful about a future with fewer suicides.

One of Ketamine’s benefits in anesthesia is its pain relief properties. People undergoing surgery seem to benefit from its use, not only in terms of pain levels post-operative but in lowering the requirements for opioids.

Currently, the symptoms of numerous pain conditions are ameliorated through Ketamine infusion therapy. These include:

  1. Cancer and non-cancer-related pain
  2. Neuropathic pain, including that in the extremities related to diabetic conditions
  3. Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS), sometimes called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome
  4. Chronic migraines
Yet another area where Ketamine infusion therapy may help is addiction and substance abuse. Several decades ago, a collection of small studies investigated Ketamine’s effectiveness in facilitating and maintaining sobriety regarding alcohol and opioids. Those studies were promising, and substance abuse clinics are already exploring these possibilities. Infusions with Ketamine may benefit sufferers from mental/behavioral health, severe pain, and addiction issues. Concurrent psychological therapy may improve these infusion outcomes even more. Ketamine-assisted therapy, more frequently known as Ketamine assisted psychotherapy, are modalities that combine the dissociative features of ketamine treatment with particular psychological counseling interventions. Evidence suggests this is a beneficial combination.

Ketamine treatment options

Various forms of Ketamine are manufactured and prescribed. However, few are often used.
  1. Intravenous Ketamine (IV Ketamine)
  2. Intranasal Ketamine (known as ‘esketamine,’ brand name Spravato)
  3. Intramuscular or subcutaneous
  4. Ketamine sublingual troches
  5. Rectal suppositories
  6. Ketamine powder or crystals made into pills or dissolved into a liquid
  7. The powder may also be snorted or smoked combined with cigarettes or marijuana
  8. Insufflation (intranasal aka ‘snorting’)
Of all of these treatment options or routes of administration, most practitioners prefer IV Ketamine because:
  1. Dosage can be precisely administered with infusion
  2. Stability of dose in the bloodstream vs. unpredictable fluctuations
  3. Better side effect profile
  4. More effective in symptom relief
  5. Less addictive potential

Ketamine infusion with other medications

Most Ketamine patients have been or still are on other medications. In fact, because their prescriptions are not working or have unbearable side effects, is precisely why they are seeking Ketamine treatment.

A common question of potential patients is, “Can I still undergo low-dose IV Ketamine while on other prescription medications?

In many cases, the answer is yes. However, each individual’s medication regimen is different and needs discussing with their physician.

Certain drugs or supplements will be contraindicated entirely. Some will require a “wash out” period when the drugs are discontinued and have time to flush out of your body. Delaying the period before treatment for specific prescriptions can also be an option.

Again, do not take on this decision yourself. Only your doctor can analyze your case specifically. Don’t forget to disclose nutritional supplementations and recreational drugs, as well. Any potential interaction could be serious.

Ketamine infusions: what to expect

Wondering about what the IV Ketamine experience involves or will it feel like is natural? Unlike most medications, we don’t usually imagine they will make us “feel” drastically different or have a dramatic before, during, and after collection of stages. Because dissociative infusions are outside of our experience, we naturally have more questions and maybe a bit of apprehension.

Before treatment, you are given a place in a treatment room where you will receive your infusion. Most often, this is a quiet place with a comfortable chair and soft lighting. Your vital signs are taken, and monitoring equipment is connected to your arm, including a blood pressure cuff and a pulse and oxygen clip on your finger. Neither of these is painful, and you’ve probably had them previously in a medical exam.

Intravenous access is commonly sought in your hands. A good prospective vein is selected, your skin cleansed with an alcohol pad, and the needle inserted. This process is no different than what you have experienced in a blood drawl.

Once access is established and the monitoring gear in place, the actual infusion can begin. A small machine hanging contains the liquid Ketamine mixture that is slowly dripped into your bloodstream. This administration is not a frightening or dramatic experience. The drug’s effects slowly come over you. A deep sense of relaxation is common.

Most patients report a calm joy during the infusion. This relief from daily suffering can be truly amazing! During this period, the acute emotional or physical pain of their condition frequently diminishes. When one realizes they have nothing to be afraid of and feels better, it is a wonderous time in the treatment.

Once the dose runs out, the staff removes the IV and gives you time to rest and reestablish your “footing.” You may have even fallen asleep. Whether you were awake or asleep for the infusion is OK. The beneficial effects are still imparted. Just be careful when you stand up and walk because you may be unsteady on your feet.

Explore treatment options

Finding out if Ketamine is a reasonable choice for treatment for your particular case is a process of discussions with your physician(s). For some, their medical care may be under the coordination of several doctors. Talking about all of your treatment options is essential. In these modern times, there are a wide variety of approaches to dealing with an illness. Ketamine is just one possibility.

One unique aspect of this modality is that many physicians do not consider it very risky for most patients. Its long record of use reveals a safety record of substance. There are exceptions, but many other approaches are more likely to result in dangerous outcomes.

Consulting with a doctor specializing in Ketamine therapy is one step in this process. Ultimately, you both will have to agree that Ketamine is a wise option and layout a treatment plan. In many cases, whether the therapy will be effective for you is forecasted in the first round of procedures. If you respond favorably within the first several treatments, that trend will likely continue. If the desired response is missing, your physician will advise you on whether continuing the therapy makes sense.

The number of clinics continues to expand across the United States and is continuing into Europe. As its success record continues, there will be more points of access.

Certain features of a Ketamine clinic are essential. How you find an excellent Ketamine clinic for you is an important question.

Prepare for your IV infusion

Preparing for an Intravenous infusion of Ketamine is simple. After you’ve found a satisfactory clinic, there are just a few things to cover.

Get a good night’s sleep. You may fall asleep during your treatment, but it’s good to go into the experience rested and calm.

Avoid drama. We all deal with drama. Some of it we can’t control. For the parts we can, try to minimize it. Avoid stressful situations and confrontations. Here are some suggestions on how to talk to family and friends about Ketamine therapy, should you need them.

Follow the instructions for medications, food, and drink. Your physician may tell you to alter your medication schedule or refrain from food and drink. It’s essential to adhere to all instructions.

What Ketamine infusion feels like

You can expect to feel relaxed, dizzy, tired, and disoriented. These are frequently enjoyable, a pleasant intoxication.

Depending on the condition you’re treating, the dose, and additional factors, the duration of the actual infusion may vary. However, most treatments include a 40-minute delivery. The procedure may require more time given the intake and exit process. Treatments for pain may be much longer, up to several hours.

The phases break down into roughly 20 minutes for intake, vitals, and IV insertion. Approximately 40 minutes of actual infusion drip. 20 minutes of reawakening.

If a patient experiences physical or mental discomfort, the staff will intervene as necessary. You are being monitored, and staff will attend to your safety needs.

Patients having heard about “k-holes,” intense or disturbing experiences during treatment, frequently ask: “are k-holes dangerous?

Ketamine infusion dosage

Calculation of Ketamine doses is by weight. Patients begin at a standard baseline dose that may be increased over successive sessions. Severe pain conditions generally require higher doses and are tailored to each case.

Effects of IV Ketamine after treatment

Fatigue after the infusion is typical. After all, Ketamine is an anesthetic!

Patients are usually given Zofran and other medication to minimize dizziness or nausea.

Before leaving, vital signs are reviewed, and the patient is consulted about their experience and well-being. These questions will inform further treatments and confirm the patient’s readiness for departure from the facility.

The outcome of the treatment is a key determinant of future dosing of future therapies.

This brings up the question: “how many Ketamine treatments do I need?” The short answer is that it depends on whether you benefit from the treatment while reacting within the safety guidelines.

Confirming the stability of your cardiovascular system is also a key concern. Ketamine infusions may elevate the heart rate and blood pressure. This is why continuous monitoring during the therapy process is conducted.

Inquiring as to your state of mind is also critical. IV Ketamine is not intended to create a bad experience like a k hole or ketamine hole.

While not widely reported, there is always the possibility of distressing psychological side effects like mania (for bipolar patients) or an exacerbation of psychosis in patients with diagnoses that include that symptom. Your physician will take all of these factors into account.

Ketamine infusion therapy near me

Choosing our medical care is one of life’s most important decisions. Therefore, determining which Ketamine clinic is best for you is worthy of consideration.

IV Ketamine Providers

IV Ketamine infusions are performed in several environments and for different reasons.

The setting we are usually referring to when discussing low-dose intravenous ketamine infusions for psychiatric disease is a clinic. A clinic is an office used for medical procedures and equipped appropriately for the safe administration of said procedures. Clinics may be as small as employing a couple of professionals to a large clinic with numerous locations, a multitude of treatment rooms, and dozens of staff.

Ketamine hydrochloride may be prescribed and administered by licensed medical practitioners, including MDs, DOs, PsyDs, and NPs.

In Emergency Departments: Various uses, including intense pain relief, sedation, psychiatric stabilization, and preservation of cardiovascular integrity during blood loss.

For surgical procedures: whether in the Emergency Department or the operating theatre for anesthetic purposes.

Clinical Trials: As the breadth of Ketamine’s effects emerges, there are more clinical trials investigating its application to an extraordinary range of scenarios and conditions. Psychiatric conditions like Depression, Bipolar, OCD, Suicidal Ideations, PTSD, and less common or well-understood diagnoses such as BPD and Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) benefit from trials to determine efficacy and safety.

There are many chronic, severe pain conditions that are difficult to treat: Fibromyalgia, CRPS, migraines, and neuropathy. Ketamine clinics are beginning to offer pain-focused intravenous therapy for these conditions.

The United States is undergoing an opioid epidemic. Ketamine has the potential as a way to avoid opioids while retaining the same degree of pain relief. Analgesic properties with less tendency towards addiction seem particularly desirable in today’s climate. This procedure may become a better-understood option for the future of analgesic agents.

Addiction, in general, is a problem of immense proportions in the United States. Addiction conditions span alcohol, prescribed drugs, synthetic creations such as opioid derivatives, MDMA, Quaaludes, along with natural substances such as marijuana, psilocybin, ayahuasca, and DMT. Opinions differ widely on the issues of legalization, personal choice, and therapeutic value. The question is how Ketamine may factor into breaking a substance abuse problem resulting from their use.

Especially with the approval of esketamine as a treatment option, other administrative settings like the offices of PCPs and psychiatrists are becoming more common.

How to select your Ketamine infusion center

Finding a Ketamine clinic isn’t just a matter of location. It is important to spend some time thinking about how to chose the right Ketamine clinic for one's individual preferences and treatment needs, and it requires satisfactory answers to the right questions.

The number of Ketamine clinics worldwide is increasing. As more people find relief from hard-to-treat illnesses, the word keeps spreading. That’s why the Find Ketamine Clinic Directory is regularly updated to make searching for the right clinic easy.

A good Ketamine clinic directory isn’t just dots on a map. It’s a rich guide to everything you need to know about your options, including its doctors, amenities, background, and reviews. Many factors define a great infusion clinic, and our directory makes your search fast, easy, and accurate.

Ketamine Infusion Cost

Low-dose intravenous infusions of Ketamine are expensive, mainly because obtaining insurance reimbursement is difficult.

Treatments range from approximately $300 to $800 per session. 5-6 sessions are considered the initial treatment plan in most cases. This series gives insight into Ketamine’s impact on the patient and whether continuing the treatment makes sense.

On the other hand, chronic pain conditions frequently require much longer sessions and can cost over $1000 per therapy.

Find Ketamine researches payment options to help people find ways to afford treatment.

Conclusions on Ketamine therapy and IV infusions

It has been decades since the psychiatrist’s toolbox has expanded to include such an exciting possibility of a breakthrough in complex cases where nothing has worked. In fact, Ketamine continues to amaze doctors, scientists, and patients with its ability to prove its wide-ranging usefulness.

Ketamine won’t replace every medication or procedure. And, it isn’t the best treatment option for everyone. Insurance may continue to resist covering it. And, some medical researchers may remain skeptical. However, it’s generating buzz because, at least for some sufferers, they’re finding relief beyond what they ever expected.

That’s something of which we can all be glad.

Answers to the Top 10 Ketamine FAQs, along with other pages and posts on, offer much more information.

Subscribing to the Find Ketamine newsletter (the blue subscribe button at the bottom of this page) is a great way to keep up with the latest Ketamine news.

Please Contact Us for additional information you do not see on the site.

My comprehensive, step-by-step guide to ketamine therapy answers all of your questions about this extraordinary treatment. 

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