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What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that has a variety of uses and remedial properties. Initially, its use started and maintained anesthesia in patients undergoing surgery.

It provides pain relief through sedation and a trance-like state. But ketamine also helps with the following:
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety

Heart function, breathing, and airway reflexes generally remain functional when using ketamine.

Ketamine and Your Brain

Ketamine affects numerous pathways in the brain. It interacts with the glutamate system by blocking glutamate receptors. The communication between our neurons is affected by glutamate levels.

By hindering the reception, an anesthetic effect is experienced. Similar to how naltrexone interacts with opiate receptors, low doses of ketamine may actually increase the production of the neurotransmitter it inhibits.

Ketamine Therapy

At low doses, ketamine exhibits therapeutic properties not associated with anesthesia. It can help with pain, depression, and other mental health issues.

By modulating neurotransmitters in the brain, ketamine induces a trance-like state often associated with some form of relief for the user.

More people are turning to ketamine when their conventional medications fail.

Ketamine for Depression

Depression is a challenging disorder to treat. Far too often, conventional treatments fail to help patients. Recent breakthroughs in research continue to highlight the positive effects ketamine has on patients with depression. At low doses, ketamine will have minimal dissociative or psychotic impact.

People who have tried antidepressants and failed have found success with ketamine. This is because ketamine works differently in the brain.

Common antidepressants will alter neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, while ketamine increases glutamate.

With a proper ketamine implementation strategy, this drug can help the brain foster new neuron connections and provide long-term alleviation.

SSRIs vs Ketamine

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are commonly used to treat depression. They work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. 

The FDA has approved numerous SSRI brands such as Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft. Ketamine has one FDA-approved brand (Spravato) and can be compounded in a pharmacy.

However, there are more critical differences between SSRIs and ketamine.

Ketamine takes effect much quicker than SSRIs. SSRIs require 2 to 4 weeks before patients experience any benefit. The antidepressant effect of ketamine, however, is detectable 40 minutes after the dose is given.

Significant improvement in depressive symptoms can be seen as soon as 24 hours. This fast action makes it a promising option for patients with an immediate need or at risk of suicide.

A significant downside experienced with SSRIs is their effect on libido. Many people will have reduced sexual desire and even reduced sexual function.

This is not the case with ketamine. Even with consistent use, ketamine will not decrease libido. 

Ketamine for Chronic Pain

Patients experiencing chronic pain may benefit from prescribed ketamine use. Anyone who has ever taken prescribed medications for pain knows that opioids come with several side effects.

These may include constipation, nausea, and more.

Ketamine does not cause constipation and can be compounded with other medications to avoid nausea and psychotropic side effects.

Ketamine influences pain in various ways. Primarily, ketamine acts as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor inhibitor. By doing so, ketamine can lead to better pain control.

Ketamine also has anti-inflammatory effects. It interacts with inflammatory cells recrutment, cytokins production, and inflammatory mediators regulation. This allows it to fight inflammation without affecting the body’s healing processes. 

We can also observe long-term analgesic effects after 4-14 days of use. After around 2 weeks of use, patients can experience the analgesic effects for up to 3 months

Ketamine for Anxiety

There are several anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Typical treatments include benzodiazepines, buspirone, and antidepressants.

Recent developments have shown ketamine to be a viable alternative to these treatments for anxiety. 

A study reviewing ketamine’s effect on social anxiety disorder showed improvements over those who took the placebo. After 2 weeks, participants had a significant anxiety reduction when measured by the Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale (LSAS).

This is why some people may opt for ketamine when other medications have failed.

How Do You Take Ketamine?

Ketamine is taken intravenously when used as an anesthetic. This creates an analgesic and aura-producing effect. However, compounding pharmacies can develop ketamine in a variety of forms. 

Nasal sprays are a common way to take ketamine. The FDA has approved Spravato as the first traditionally prescribed ketamine nasal spray. This medication is to be taken in the office under the supervision of their doctor. However, this method limits any customizability for the patient.

Ketamine from compounded pharmacies allows for any dosage size the patient requires, even those not commercially available. Patients may also take the medication in their own home if they are not at risk for addiction. This is helpful for clients who may require lower doses of ketamine

But we make more than just nasal sprays. We can make ketamine into troches, sublingual drops, and even pain creams.

Ketamine Compounded Forms

Nasal Spray

Intranasal ketamine can be made in almost any dosage size. We can also make it without preservatives.

This form has approximately 45% bioavailability and is most commonly used for treatment-resistant depression.

Rapid Dissolve Tablet

Few compounding pharmacies make rapid dissolve tablets (RDTs). RDTs dissolve very quickly once taken by mouth.

This is great for patients that may struggle with swallowing pills. RDTs are better tasting and avoid the digestive system.


Troches are small tablets similar to cough drops in consistency and size. Troches can be compounded to contain most medications, including ketamine.

They dissolve in the mouth over time and deliver medication directly through the bloodstream.

Pain Creams

Ketamine pain creams help address pain at the source. Applying a ketamine cream can help alleviate symptoms of neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome.

Topical ketamine also provides the upside of having no serious side effects while having higher concentrations of ketamine.

Is Ketamine Right for You?

Research on the effectiveness of ketamine continues to bring positive results. For those who have tried other medications to no avail, ketamine may be a reasonable option.

ClearSpring Pharmacy compounds ketamine to any specified form and dosage! Our products are tested to ensure our patients get the most efficient and potent product. Our knowledgeable pharmacists help you navigate your ketamine usage so you feel supported.

Please feel free to call our Littleton or Denver locations. We are always happy to help! Or fill out the form on this page, and we will respond promptly.

Additionally, you can easily text our pharmacy with any questions you may have:
Littleton: 303-707-1500
Cherry Creek: 303-333-2010

You can also message us through any of our social media channels. We make it easy to connect!