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How Long Will the Effects of Ketamine Last?

How Long Will the Effects of Ketamine Last?

Ketamine is proven to be an effective treatment for depression, with what could (in many cases) be considered extremely impressive results. And yet, many wonder how long its effects last. This can be considered in two ways: how long the physiological effects of ketamine last in the short term, and how long its antidepressant effects last in the long term. Read on to find out the answers to these questions and more. 

How Long do the Immediate Effects of Ketamine Last?

Several factors contribute to the duration of the immediate physiological effects ketamine has on the body and mind. One of the most significant factors is the method of administration, as each one has a different time of onset, duration, and after-effects. 

Administration Methods 

While IV infusion and nasal spray are the most popular ways to administer ketamine for the treatment of depression, there are actually four ways it can be administered:

  1. IV (intravenous) infusion
  2. Intranasal spray
  3. IM (intramuscular) injection
  4. Sublingual tablets

Regardless of the method, the treatment sessions typically last about an hour, and the immediate effects subside between one and three hours. Due to the potential for the effects to last longer than one hour, a loved one must be present during treatments to help the patient thereafter. 

How Long do Ketamine’s Antidepressant Effects Last?

While the immediate effects of ketamine subside mere hours after its administration, the benefits a person gets from receiving this treatment last a remarkably long time. After one session, a person can expect to experience an overall improvement in their outlook on life and their mood in general. Increased openness and mental flexibility last about a week, although this can vary. In some cases, relief was still ongoing after a month (in some patients), which is incredible when compared to traditional medications that need to be taken daily. 

Maintenance Doses

One way to make the effects last longer is to receive maintenance doses between treatments. A 2019 study on individuals with major depressive disorder demonstrated the potential for longer-term positive effects. The study concluded that depression, anxiety, and the severity of mental illness significantly improved after intervals of two weeks and again after a month of the patient’s last ketamine infusion. Depression and anxiety improved considerably after just one hour of the patient’s first infusion. Any adverse effects subsided within the same amount of time. 

Since a single one-hour session can increase feelings of flexibility and openness and enhance a person’s overall mood, it stands to reason that adding multiple sessions throughout the treatment course could benefit those who need it. Moreover, anyone looking into ketamine treatments needs to view the treatments as something that could drastically improve their lives. As such, the only way to get the most out of the process is to take a long-term approach and follow through with it.