Skip to main content

Ketamine for Depression

An innovative and rapid medication treatment for depression

Is Ketamine Treatment for Depression Right for You?

  • Do you suffer from clinical depression and you’re not getting better from antidepressants or other medications?
  • Have you done some rounds of therapy and it’s just not relieving your depression fast enough?
  • Are your relationships and career suffering until you figure out a way forward?

You are not alone. Depression is on course to become the world’s largest global burden of disease. Millions are struggling from clinical depression, and the sad truth is too many aren’t getting better with antidepressants. But, thanks to an innovative medical treatment there is another answer. This new treatment approach is called ketamine therapy.

How Does Ketamine Work for Depression?

Ketamine is a medication used as far back as 1970 for emergency medicine and minor surgical procedures. However, it wasn’t until more recently that ketamine treatment for clinical depression was discovered.

Here’s what’s relevant to you specifically…

Ketamine is rapid-acting and one of the most effective medications for immediate relief from depression which has been shown in many ketamine for depression clinical trials. Additionally, this medication has a completely different mechanism from other antidepressant medications.

Unlike traditional antidepressant medications which work on the serotonin neurotransmitter system, ketamine blocks a type of glutamate receptors. It is believed that a significant part of ketamine’s effectiveness is due to the boost in brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that has been observed in medical research.[1] BDNF is an important brain hormone that promotes the creation of new connections between neurons, potentially reversing some of the long-term effects of chronic depression.

How Effective is Ketamine for Depression?

Antidepressant medications have saved many lives. Unfortunately, the STAR*D study demonstrated that most people who take antidepressants don’t receive significant benefits. Even more disturbing, the more antidepressants a person tries, the higher probability antidepressants won’t work effectively for that person.[2]

The Lifeline: Ketamine Infusions for Depression

Most ketamine clinical trials have focused on giving people with treatment-resistant depression ketamine infusions. These studies demonstrate that 70% of people that undergo ketamine infusions for depression reliably experience a significant reduction in symptoms of depression[3]. No medication for clinical depression has ever had this level of efficacy.

In 2017, a meta-analysis of ketamine for depression stated: “Controlled clinical trials with IV ketamine have suggested that the antidepressant benefits of ketamine can be maintained by repeated dosing at 2-to-7-day intervals and that the benefits of ketamine can in this manner be extended for months to years.” [4</>]

Ketamine for Depression Clinical Trials

A 2006 randomized trial of ketamine for depression conducted at the National Institute of Mental Health[3] showed the fast-acting nature of ketamine for depression. Subsequent studies have also shown about a 70% response rate for IV ketamine for treatment-resistant depression.

In the following study, depressed people received one IV ketamine treatment and had seven days of follow-up assessments. Figure “A” demonstrates that seventy percent of study participants had at least a fifty percent reduction in depression peaking on day one. This graph also shows that by day seven (after only one infusion), about half of the benefit was gone. Further demonstrating the need for subsequent infusions.

Figure: Zarate 2006.

Between 2006 and the present, researchers have refined the treatment protocol with
subsequent sessions, frequency and dosing to prolong the benefits of ketamine.

Placebo vs Ketamine

  • Personal Outcomes

    Visualize tomorrow morning...getting out of bed, looking forward to the day with energy and excitement, and read to go to work or see friends and family. It’s not uncommon that patients at IPC regularly experience this type of transformation after going through our Ketamine Infusions for Depression Treatment program. Many patients finish the program and feel a deeper connection to others with a greater sense of purpose. It’s completely possible to feel your self-worth again and get into higher levels of productivity so you can achieve what you know you are capable of. We’ve even had many patients leave feeling more connected to the world and feeling aligned with a higher purpose for their lives. It’s possible to have consistently productive, upbeat and grounded days where you feel able to express your potential. We understand that these things might currently feel impossible, but Ketamine Assisted-Psychotherapy, can make these types of experiences a reality. Individual results may vary.

How We Are Different

Choosing a medical provider can be a stressful experience. We want to help you find the right ketamine provider for your needs. Although there are an increasing number of places offering ketamine, there are several key things that make our clinic different which are important to consider when determining if IPC is the right place for your care:

  • Medical Team:
    Our medical team is one of the most experienced groups of ketamine providers in the country.
  • Investment:
    At IPC we understand that patients who choose to pursue Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy are making a significant financial investment in their long term health and we take that seriously. We are committed to keeping our costs as affordable as possible without compromising any aspect of the quality of care. We do not take medicaid, medicare or insurance, however, we can provide out-of-network claim forms if you want to seek reimbursement.
  • Integrative Psychiatry:
    Our clinic believes in assessing and treating root causes of mental health conditions. Unlike most ketamine clinics, you will be evaluated for your ketamine consult by an Integrative Psychiatrist. Rest assured, if we believe ketamine is not the right or only course of action, you will be recommended other treatments that go after the root of the problem.
  • Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy:
    Ketamine’s dissociative effects offer a unique opportunity to uncover new ways of understanding your depression. Most ketamine centers place multiple patients in one room without any psychotherapist. We have treated a number of people who felt very disturbed by the experience of being left alone on ketamine. Each patient in our clinic has a private room and a highly skilled therapist throughout the ketamine treatment. 

  • Physician On Site:
    Some ketamine centers do not provide a physician on site. Additionally, there are therapists who will provide psychotherapy for clients in their office who have received sublingual ketamine without medical staff present, even though the FDA recently mandated that a newly approved version of ketamine cannot be administered outside of a medical office. Although medical emergencies are an extremely rare outcome of ketamine, we stand firmly for safety first by having a physician and nurse on-site, and we do not condone the use of ketamine outside a medical office setting.
  • IV Ketamine:
    There are several different ways of administering ketamine and at IPC we prefer IV infusion because it is the most studied route of administration. If for some reason IV is not best for a specific individual we also have other routes of administration which can be discussed between a patient and their individual provider. Unfortunately, sublingual ketamine research is not compelling and scant, therefore, we do not generally recommend this route of administration.

Powered by the Integrative Psychiatry Institute

We’re not only on the forefront of integrative care for patients, but we are also backed by the educational power of the Integrative Psychiatry Institute. Our expert practitioners are learning directly from the premier educational community for integrative psychiatry. Rest assured, our practitioners are constantly implementing new practices from the latest research in innovative mental health care.


1. Huang YJ et al. New Treatment Strategies of Depression: Based on Mechanisms Related to Neuroplasticity. Neural Plast. 2017; 2017:4605971.
2. Gaynes BN et al. What Did STAR*D Teach Us? Results From a Large-Scale, Practical, Clinical Trial for Patients With Depression. Published online 1 Nov 2009.
3. Zarate CA, et al. A randomized trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant major depression.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;63(8):856-64.
4. Andrade, C. Ketamine for Depression, 1: Clinical Summary of Issues Related to Efficacy, Adverse Effects, and Mechanism of Action. J Clinical Psychiatry 2017 Apr;78(4):e415-e419.
4. Gaynes BN et al. What Did STAR*D Teach Us? Results From a Large-Scale, Practical, Clinical Trial for Patients With Depression. Published online 1 Nov 2009.