Are there any side effects with ketamine infusions?
Safety of ketamine in addiction treatment
The tragic death of Matthew Perry has brought the topic of ketamine back into the public debate. And it also shows how inefficient expensive addiction treatments can be. The safety of ketamine infusions is being publicly questioned.
We have been successfully treating patients with addiction and dependencies for many yearswith a combination of ketamine infusions, psychotherapy and brain stimulation methods such as rTMS and neurofeedback.
Therapy with ketamine infusions is absolutely safe as long as it is carried out under medical supervision.
In our ketamine therapy, very small amounts of ketamine are administered intravenously in a controlled manner, with the patient under the constant supervision of a qualified therapist. Approximately 30 minutes after the end of the ketamine infusion, the ketamine has already been metabolized in the body. The effect that ketamine has on the brain is long-lasting and usually leads to an immediate improvement in symptoms; thoughts of addiction can disappear after just one ketamine infusion.
Possible side effects of ketamine
Side effects from ketamine infusions are very rare and if they do occur, they usually subside quickly. Approximately 30 minutes after the end of the ketamine infusion, the ketamine is metabolized in the body and the effects are usually gone. However, the effect on the neuronal connections and the neuroplasticity of the brain remains.
The described effects usually subside within 15 to 30 minutes after the end of the infusion. Unpleasant side effects occur in less than 5% of cases in our setting (IV infusion, always accompanied by a therapist).
Possible effects and side effects of ketamine during controlled infusion:
- Feeling of being drunk
- Change in the perception of color and form,
- Double vision
- Change in body perception
- Remembering forgotten experiences
- Eurphoria, silliness
- Feeling of merging with the environment
- Increased sensitivity to noise
- Panic attacks due to the experience of dissociation
- Increase in blood pressure
Possible effects and side effects of ketamine after controlled infusion:
- In rare cases, nausea occurs after a ketamine infusion, which sometimes lasts for several hours or continues the next day
- Occasionally increased dream activity and sleep disturbances the following night
- Improvement in depressive symptoms the next day, sometimes during or shortly after the infusion
- Reduction or disappearance of suicidal thoughts
- Reduction of anxiety, compulsions and pain
Dr. Scheib On the case of Matthew Perry :
Matthew Perry did not die as a result of the ketamine, but probably drowned due to unconsciousness as a result of excessive drug consumption. This could just as easily have happened with alcohol or any other substance. So never handle substances in the whirlpool or swimming pool that can cause even a temporary reduction in consciousness and strength!
If he had taken the substance in bed, nothing would probably have happened. But I would also strongly advise against this. Ketamine is a highly effective medication and should only be used by doctors.
A study by Green and colleagues in 1999 (ketamine has been on the market since 1970) investigated the effects of accidental overdoses in children. Even with 100-fold accidental overdoses, there were no serious complications. The children only slept longer than planned after anesthesia. The LD50, i.e. the dose at which half of the mice die in animal experiments, is 300 times the dose normally used in psychiatric applications.
Ketamine is therefore safe. However, this does not mean that there can be no serious complications – especially if it is used improperly outside of a medical context. And long-term damage has been described in the drug scene, such as chronic cystitis, which is difficult to treat.
Ketamine is now even used to treat addiction. In many cases, the addiction memory can be overwritten. However, this cannot be done at home on your own. It has to be incorporated into a psychotherapeutic concept. This was described in detail by Ravi Das in 2019 in a study on alcohol addiction and subsequently confirmed several times in independent studies. Treatment with ketamine is also suitable for cocaine addiction. However, we are always talking about IV infusions in combination with psychotherapy and, if necessary, other therapeutic procedures such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation and neurofeedback.
What I find sad and annoying is that even luxury addiction rehabs rarely use these modern methods and usually only rely on the almost 100-year-old 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, we see the results again and again.
Bild Wikipedia/Valerie Jarrett @vj44 via X (Twitter)
The actor Matthew Perry, known from the series “Friends”, died in October 2023 by drowning as a result of ketamine abuse as a drug, NOT from potential side effects of a controlled ketamine infusion.
By his own account, he spent a total of more than $9 million on treatments for his addiction and was in 65 different treatment centers over the course of his life, but always relapsed. This shows that ketamine alone is not a miracle drug, which is why we always administer it in combination with other therapies.
Matthew Perry was 54 years old.