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Ketamine For Depression

Ketamine Depression Treatment

Originally used as an anesthetic, ketamine continues to be studied for its impact on people experiencing depression. 

Controlled doses of ketamine can act quickly and reduce the debilitating symptoms associated with depression.

Ketamine can provide “rapid, profound, and surprisingly durable antidepressant effects.” 

Intranasal ketamine has shown positive results when addressing depressive symptoms. It has emerged as a prominent method of delivering the drug.

Ketamine Nasal Spray

Nasal sprays containing ketamine have become more popular as a treatment for depression. In fact, the FDA has approved Spravato as a ketamine-based nasal spray for depression.

This nasal spray can be used in conjunction with antidepressant medicines or for patients who have treatment-resistant depression.

These nasal sprays are to be used in a medical setting and in the presence of medical doctors. However, this stringent process can be inconvenient for patients.

Administering the spray may be difficult if the patient has to visit the doctor every time.

Compounded Nasal Spray

ClearSpring Pharmacy compounds ketamine nasal sprays for patients, allowing them to take the medication in their homes!

The spray is customized to meet the needs of the patient. This includes considerations for prescription strength and base ingredients.

The most common prescription strength is 150 mg/ml and can go as high as 175 mg/ml. Any higher and the compound may not hold correctly. 

With preservatives, the spray can last the full 30 days prescribed. Sprays without preservatives will last around 17-21 days before losing stability

While intranasal ketamine is less effective than intravenous ketamine, it provides a more straightforward administration method that is more user-friendly.

With the proper precautions taking place, patients can conveniently make use of ketamine nasal sprays at an affordable price.

Ketamine vs. SSRIs

Ketamine takes a different approach to addressing depression compared to traditional medications. 

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are commonly prescribed to help treat depressive symptoms. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain by blocking serotonin reabsorption (reuptake) in our neurons.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter commonly associated with calmness and positive emotions. By inhibiting the removal of serotonin, more is available in our brain to process the “good feelings” repeatedly.

Ketamine does not influence serotonin but instead interacts with glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that helps with learning, memory, and the development of neural connections in our brain. This may explain why many people succeed with ketamine after failing with SSRIs.

Additionally, ketamine works faster than SSRIs. Many patients experience an improvement in their depressive symptoms within 24 hours of induction, while SSRIs may take months to take effect.

Differences Between Ketamine & SSRIs

Actuation Time

SSRIs can take up to 2 – 4 weeks to show results. Ketamine will show effects within 24 hours of taking the drug.


SSRIs work by increasing the amount of serotonin in our brain. Ketamine affects glutamate.


SSRIs are more commonly prescribed. Ketamine is still being studied and has limitations to the way it is administered and prescribed.

Ketamine for Depression Side Effects

Like any other drug, ketamine is not without its side effects.

The most prevalent is the brief euphoric reaction felt after taking ketamine. Depending on the dose and administration method, this hallucinogenic state may last between 30 minutes to 2 hours.

This may lead to mental side effects, including:
  • Decreased focus
  • Dizziness
  • Dissociation
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of physical coordination
  • Confusion
  • Addiction

Ketamine may also have some physical side effects, such as:
  • Double vision
  • Impaired motor function
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Slowed breathing
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Akathisia

Compounding prescriptions allows us to add medications that help relieve some of ketamine’s side effects.

Ketamine for Depression in Denver, Colorado

Depression can be an extremely debilitating condition. It is a mental health condition that is heavily influenced by the chemistry in our brains.

As we know, SSRIs are frequently prescribed to help with the condition. SSRIs aim to increase the amount of the “feel good” neurotransmitter, serotonin, in the brain.

However, it can take months to show results, and many people are still looking for success with this treatment.

Ketamine has shown the ability to help patients who have not succeeded with SSRIs.

Please feel free to contact ClearSpring Pharmacy for more information regarding ketamine. You can call our Littleton or Denver location and fill out the form on this page.

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Littleton: 303-707-1500
Cherry Creek: 303-333-2010

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