Get answers to frequently asked questions about ketamine treatment for depression and chronic pain.

FAQs About Ketamine for Depression & Chronic Pain

Many people have questions about ketamine infusions for depression and chronic pain. Below are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions. If you can’t find the information you’re curious about here, please contact us. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about ketamine infusion therapy.

ketamine for depression

Is IV ketamine a safe depression treatment?

Ketamine has been in use since the 1960s, when it was used as an anesthetic on battlefields and in emergency room settings. It is FDA approved as an analgesic and anesthetic, and is also listed on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications. Ketamine was and is a popular anesthetic, especially for those patients who have adverse reactions to other anesthesia medications.

Once ketamine’s patent expired, the drug lessened in popularity. Recently, in the late 1990s, this new idea of ketamine as a depression treatment emerged. Ketamine—when administered intravenously in sub-anesthetic dosages—can be used to treat depression rapidly and effectively. Ketamine has grown in popularity as a depression treatment, as well as a non-opiate solution for chronic pain management. There are very few side effects, and when minor side effects present, they are often short-lived. Ketamine was such an effective depression treatment, in fact, that pharmaceutical companies immediately began researching and developing patentable antidepressants that worked as quickly and effectively. While nothing that parallels ketamine’s success has been developed quite yet, the FDA did approve a nasal spray, esketamine, which is one of the chemical of isomers of ketamine.

ketamine for depression


Ketamine for depression is most often administered intravenously—through this administration route, 100% of the drug reaches the bloodstream and brain. Researchers have explored the efficacy of delivering ketamine sublingually, orally, intranasally and intramuscularly, however, none of these administration routes seems to offer the same benefit as an IV infusion.

ketamine for depression

Is ketamine for depression addictive?

No, ketamine is not an addictive substance. It does not lead to physical dependency. Those who abuse ketamine in recreational settings may develop a psychological dependence on the drug, but when used for the treatment of depression, ketamine is safe and non-addictive. The fact that IV ketamine is only administered in a clinical setting under the direct care of a physician helps prevent the drug from getting into the wrong hands where it could be abused. 

ketamine for depression

Can ketamine be abused?

When IV ketamine is administered by a medical professional, it is very safe. Reputable clinics will not send patients home with ketamine. Rather, ketamine will always be administered by us under close supervision in a safe, comfortable clinical setting. It is true that ketamine is sometimes abused for recreational purposes. However, the amount of ketamine ingested when used for recreational purposes is much, much higher than what would be administered in a clinical setting.

ketamine for depression

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY firST KETamine infusion? what do I need to know, and how can i prepare?

Your first ketamine infusion should be a seamless experience—safe and painless. At Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center in Southern Utah, our team of highly experienced anesthesiologists is dedicated to making sure each patient feels safe and comfortable at every step of the infusion process.

The first step in getting you in for a ketamine infusion is filling out forms and paperwork, and gaining a referral from your primary or mental health care physician. Once we determine that you are a candidate for ketamine infusions, we will scheduled your initial consultation.

Unlike many other ketamine treatment centers, we do not charge our patients for their initial consultation. During your consultation, one of our physicians will review your current medications and symptoms, explain the ketamine treatment process and any potential side effects that could manifest. You will have a chance to ask any questions you may have, and express your concerns. Then, we will schedule your first infusion.

Please arrive to your first infusion 15 minutes early.  About 3 hours before each infusion, we ask every patient to have a light meal (nothing too heavy or greasy) and to be hydrated.  If you are coming first thing in the morning, please adjust your eating schedule to accommodate the infusion time. A ketamine infusion for depression will last 40 minutes with a 20-30 minute recovery time.  A ketamine infusion for chronic pain may last up to 4-hours depending on the patient’s symptoms and needs.

During your infusion, our staff will monitor you closely using state-of-the-art monitoring equipment. We will ensure your heart rate, rhythm, blood pressure and oxygen levels are 100% stable. During your infusion, you will be awake and alert. However, many people choose to sit back, relax, and listen to music. If you experience nausea or an increase in blood pressure during your infusion, we are equipped to administer mediation to control the situations though your IV drip. Other possible side effects include mild, non-threatening hallucinations, most of which resolve within 2-hours of the infusion.

After your infusion, we will monitor you for about 30-minutes before releasing you into the care of a friend or family member. We ask that you please don’t drive for 6-8 hours post-infusion.

ketamine for depression

How many ketamine infusions AM I REQUIRED TO RECEIVE?

Based on research and our years of experience, ketamine is most effective when 4-6 infusions are administered in the initial 2-3 week period known as the loading phase. You will know whether or not ketamine will work for you after your fourth infusion. After your initial series of infusions, patients generally require maintenance infusions, though the frequency at which they need these varies dramatically. Some patients come in bi-monthly, while others need maintenance infusions only once every 6 or so months.

ketamine for depression


Do not stop taking your other medications without the direct instruction of your prescribing physician. During your initial consultation, we will review your list of medications and identify any potential contraindications with ketamine. Ketamine is sometimes even more effective when administered in combination with other antidepressant medications.

Request a Free Consultation

Is ketamine treatment the right solution for your mood disorder or chronic pain condition? Learn more about these highly effective options for depression treatment and chronic pain management by requesting a free consultation at our Southern Utah ketamine treatment center.


We are happy to offer a free consultation to new patients interested in learning more about ketamine treatment for depression and chronic pain. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mood disorder or chronic pain condition, ketamine may be the solution you've been looking for. Request your free consultation today using the brief form below.