Because it’s difficult to measure the effectiveness of ketamine for depression

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In recent years, the medical world has studied the effectiveness of the anesthetic agent ketamine in treating depression, and the results have been promising.

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A 2019 study published in PubMed Central found that ketamine «has a robust and rapid effect on depression» that was immediately apparent and sustained at the end of a month. A 2022 study published in The BMJ also found that «ketamine is quick, safe in the short term, and has persistent benefits for acute care in suicidal patients.»

While this is potentially good news for anyone with debilitating depression, it’s difficult to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of ketamine from person to person. This is because depression itself is difficult to measure.

Writing for WebMD, Dr Debra Fulghum Bruce says: ‘A diagnosis of depression is often difficult to make because clinical depression can manifest itself in so many different ways. For example, some clinically depressed people seem to withdraw into a state of apathy. Others may become irritable or even agitated.» In short: it can look different in each person.

But there is a way to potentially evaluate the effectiveness of ketamine.

‘The Range’ of Efficacy

Ketamine SLC, a Utah-based clinic that has performed more than 40,000 individual ketamine treatment sessions, uses something called «the range» to measure the drug’s overall effectiveness. The clinic defines this as «the length of time between completing a given ketamine treatment and the return of depression, anxiety, or PTSD.

Patients may experience other side effects such as nausea or high blood pressure, but the gap is mostly focused on the return of depressive symptoms. If a patient has a short interval between treatment and symptoms return, this could make it difficult to sustain long-term treatment.

you’ll never know until you try

If you’re wondering which camp you’ll fall into in the long or short range, the only way to find out is to undergo treatment to see how you respond.

«It stands to reason that a $300 treatment every 100 days is preferable to the same treatment required every two weeks,» says Dr. Robert Hiemstra with Ketamine SLC. «Predicting who gets 100 days of depression freedom and who has to come every two weeks is as unpredictable as nausea; we just don’t know before we give the medicine.»

For patients whose intervals are shorter, the clinic may prescribe other methods such as dissolvable lozenges taken several times a week to optimize response.

The ‘Holy Grail of Depression’

If you respond well to treatment, Hiemstra says you could potentially enjoy more than three months of freedom from depression. For maximum effectiveness, Ketamine SLC strictly adheres to a 13-Step Intramuscular Ketamine Step System for Depression (KISSD).

“KISSD is an optimization process where every opportunity is taken to ensure patient comfort and response during this potentially very challenging treatment,” the clinic says. Hiemstra adds that, in general, «maximizing the dose of ketamine also maximizes the immediate antidepressant response and duration of effect.»

In clinical studies, Hiemstra found that one dose of ketamine led to 10-12 days of freedom from depression. Two doses boosted results at three weeks. Four doses went to six weeks. With six doses, the expected duration of freedom from depression rose to 12 weeks. And while that won’t be the case for everyone, clinical studies indicate the odds are in your favor.

“The average depressed patient treated with the KISSD process achieves 100 days of freedom from their depression,” Hiemstra reports. «These 100 days we at Ketamine SLC call the Holy Grail of depression; are achieved by 75% of KISSD treated patients.»

If you’re in the 75%, you could live three months without depression, without side effects, and with no other drugs in your system.

At Ketamine SLC this range defines the patient’s future care. If this interval is too short, practical considerations may lead to the use of ketamine tablets, which are lozenges dissolved in the mouth and are taken several times a week to optimize patient response. KISSD is an optimization process where every opportunity is taken to ensure patient comfort and response during this potentially very challenging treatment. An important truth that came from

this optimization is that generally maximizing the dose of ketamine also maximizes the immediate antidepressant response and duration of effect.

The true measure of the effects of ketamine

This maximized dose of ketamine leading to a maximum duration of effect is dramatically evident in the table below showing the 100-day depression-free range that can be achieved if the kissed protocol is adhered to:

Because it's difficult to measure the effectiveness of ketamine for depression

This table demonstrates that, in the context of careful optimization of patient response, the KISSD process produces the longest depression-free intervals in the industry. When each step of the 13-step KISSD process is properly optimized, 75% of treated patients achieve 100 days of freedom from depression.

Request a free consultation

Ketamine treatment isn’t for everyone, but it can bring welcome relief if you’ve been coping with treatment-resistant depression. You may wish to discuss this treatment option with your primary care physician or other healthcare professionals who know your history.

As with any medical treatment, there are always risks. For maximum safety and efficacy, the drug must be administered under proper medical care and this is where Ketamine SLC can help. To learn more about how ketamine can help treat mental health and mood disorders, and to see if this treatment may be right for you, request a free consultation from Ketamine SLC today.

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