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Ketamine For Depression

Ketamine Depression Treatment

Studies continue to show the positive effects controlled doses of ketamine can have on people suffering from depression. Ketamine can provide “rapid, profound, and surprisingly durable antidepressant effects.” Originally used as an anesthetic, ketamine continues to be studied for its effects on other areas of our health. For example, intranasal ketamine has shown promise in providing relief from depression.

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. It may be more difficult to actual take their medication if a visit to the doctor is needed every time they need to administer the spray.

ClearSpring Pharmacy compounds ketamine nasal sprays for patients which allows them to take the medication in the comfort of their own home. Though intranasal ketamine has a reduced efficacy compared to intravenous ketamine, it does provide a simpler administration method that would make it easier to use for most people. 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. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are commonly prescribed to help treat symptoms. SSRIs increase serotonin levels in the brain by blocking the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in our neurons. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter commonly associated with calmness and positive emotions. Basically, 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 find success 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. This hallucinogenic state may last anywhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours depending on dose and administration method. 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 brain. 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. But this can take months to show results, and many people do not find success with this treatment. Recent studies have showcased ketamine’s ability to help people with depression. Specifically, patients who have not found success with SSRIs may find it useful to try ketamine. Please feel free to contact ClearSpring Pharmacy for more information regarding ketamine. You can call our Littleton or Denver location, as well as fill out the form on this page.


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