Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic that has been used globally for more than five decades. It also has quick-acting antidepressant properties that have attracted the interest of several mental health experts over the years. Though ketamine infusions are not considered first-line therapy for depression, chronic pain, or other mental health disorders, they have been used off-label to treat severe cases of depression, PTSD, and anxiety in people who have not seen any positive results with conventional therapies and medications.
Ketamine infusions may help people with treatment-resistant depression. It may help reverse the symptoms of depression in certain people, help them cope with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and reduce chronic pain. However, this treatment may not be helpful to everyone. It can have severe side effects in certain situations and be dangerous for people with certain health conditions. Situations when you should not get a ketamine infusion are listed below:
You Have Uncontrolled Hypertension or High Blood Pressure
Ketamine is known to increase your blood pressure. If you already have high BP, the increased blood pressure caused by this medication can lead to a stroke or heart attack. Therefore, it is standard practice to monitor your blood pressure during ketamine infusions. How often your BP gets measured during infusions will depend on each healthcare professional and clinic. Some medical professionals may also give you medications to lower or control your blood pressure during the treatments. However, if you have a history of hypertension that cannot be lowered or controlled with medication, you should not take the infusions.
If You Have an Unstable Heart Condition
Ketamine can increase your cardiac output and heart rate. In addition, certain unstable heart conditions, like Congestive Heart Failure, Arrhythmias, and Coronary Artery Disease, could worsen with the medication. While certain clinics may use an ECG to monitor your heart function during the infusions and alert medical staff in case of any concerns, you should avoid the infusions if you have any of the conditions mentioned above.
You Have Uncontrolled or Untreated Thyroid Disease
Certain thyroid diseases, like hyperthyroidism, cause the heart rate to be higher than normal. This is because of sympathetic overdrive. This overdrive can get worse with ketamine infusions. If the thyroid issue is not controlled, it could potentially increase BP and heart rate. Ideally, you should get your thyroid issue addressed before taking the infusions so that your blood pressure and heart can be within safe levels during the treatment.
If You Have an Active Substance Abuse Problem
While Ketamine is used to treat addiction, it is normally given to people once they have detoxed or are off the drugs they were addicted to. When you are addicted to drugs, how your body reacts to the ketamine treatment cannot be predicted. The reactions could also be life-threatening. Hence, you should avoid these infusions if you are addicted to drugs or are undergoing addiction treatment.
If You Have Bipolar Disorder
Ketamine infusions can lead to an altered mental state. If you have bipolar disorder or are in an active manic state, the treatment could worsen your condition or lead to a heightened emotional state. Research is being conducted to support the role of ketamine in treating depression in patients with bipolar disorder. However, you must avoid these infusions until definitive results say otherwise.
If You Have Active Hallucinations or Are Delusional
You may sometimes experience out-of-body experiences or non-ordinary state experiences when given ketamine infusions. As a result, this treatment could potentially increase your hallucinations or delusions, putting you and others around you at risk. You should avoid these treatments if you know that you have delusions or experience hallucinations.
You Have Had a Bad Reaction to Ketamine in the Past
Anyone who is given ketamine infusions may experience certain side effects like dizziness, nausea, and headaches. However, some people may experience long-term side effects like interstitial cystitis that they cannot tolerate. If you are one such person, then you should avoid the treatment.
While ketamine infusions are beneficial in treating certain mental health conditions, they may also lead to several side effects. The safest way to take this medication is to first speak to your doctor and discuss your medical history in detail with them. Most reliable ketamine clinics like Complete Ketamine Solutions of Phoenix take a detailed medical history of the patient before administering the infusions. Their highly-experienced medical providers are committed to providing you with the most advanced infusion protocols in the industry.