If you have been researching ketamine therapy at all in the last few months, you may have come across ads from clinics offering "intramuscular ketamine injections." It is being advertised as the "more afforable" ketamine therapy. In this blog I asked Dr. Coakley our Medical Director why she chooses IV ketamine over the IM injections.
Ketamine can be administered in several forms, many of which have differing levels of effectiveness. Oral preparations typically are less effective as they must be processed by the digestive system. Sublingual (dissolved under the tongue) is also less effective but still immensely helpful for selected patients. Intramuscular administration has shown similar rates of effectiveness to IV infusion. The differences between the two methods can be summed up below:
1. IV infusion typically requires one needle stick to start the IV, intramuscular may require multiple injections per treatment session.
2. IV infusion can be increased, decreased, or stopped depending on the patient’s response during the treatment. Intramuscular administration cannot be adjusted or “taken back” after injection.
3. Many patients have found that IV infusions seem to maintain symptom relief for longer periods between treatments. The result is that patients having intramuscular treatment may require more frequent treatments.
4. The rate of onset and recovery is also different, leading to a intense onset (which can be uncomfortable for some patients) and slower recovery with intramuscular injection versus IV infusion. Again, with intramuscular injection, it is not possible to stop the administration, therefore you must mitigate any adverse side effects through reassurance and sometimes other medications to counteract the side effects and allow the medication to “run its course."
5. Both forms of administration require supervision by a licensed, prescribing provider and should only be given by a practitioner specifically trained in the use of ketamine. Monitoring of your vital signs throughout your treatment is also paramount to ensuring patient safety.
Still have questions about ketamine therapy? Feel free to call our office, we can help come up with a care plan that works for you!