What’s the difference between IV and oral ketamine?

Learn about the differences between oral and IV ketamine treatments in the treatment of depression, PTSD, chronic pain, mood disorders, and other mental health issues.

by Victoria Webster

At Golden Afternoon ketamine clinic, we are often asked what the difference between oral and I.V. ketamine is, and why we have decided to focus on the intravenous method.  While both routes of administration have their own advantages and disadvantages, there are some key differences between the benefits of IV ketamine and oral ketamine.

IV ketamine is typically administered in a medical setting, under the supervision of a healthcare provider, while oral ketamine can be taken at home.  At Golden Afternoon, we have a board-certified emergency medicine doctor, Jennifer Ellice, MD as well as a registered nurse overseeing the infusions.  Here are some of the benefits of IV ketamine:

  1. Faster onset: IV ketamine has a rapid onset of action, typically within minutes of administration. This makes it ideal for treating acute symptoms, such as severe depression or suicidal thoughts.
  2. More precise dosing: IV ketamine is administered by a healthcare provider, who can carefully monitor the dosage and adjust it as needed. This allows for more precise dosing and a more tailored treatment approach.
  3. Greater efficacy: IV ketamine has been shown to be more effective than oral ketamine in treating certain conditions, such as treatment-resistant depression.
  4. Reduced risk of gastrointestinal side effects: Ketamine can cause nausea and vomiting when taken orally. By administering ketamine intravenously, these side effects can be avoided. Additionally, at Golden Afternoon we offer the option of an anti-nausea such as Zofran to all of our patients.

On the other hand, oral ketamine is typically prescribed as a take-home medication. Here are some of the benefits of oral ketamine:

  1. Convenience: Oral ketamine can be taken at home, which is more convenient for some patients who may have difficulty traveling to a medical facility.
  2. Longer-lasting effects: While the onset of oral ketamine may be slower than IV ketamine, its effects may last longer, which can be beneficial for patients who require ongoing treatment. However if IV ketamine is taken for the recommended 5-6 treatments its effects are shown to last up to nine months or more.
  3. Lower cost: Oral ketamine is generally less expensive than IV ketamine, which can make it a more accessible option for some patients.

Ultimately, the choice between IV ketamine and oral ketamine will depend on a variety of factors, including the patient's medical history, symptoms, and treatment goals. It is important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment. At Golden Afternoon, Dr. Jenn would be happy to answer any questions about which treatment is right for you. Please email us at info@goldenafternoon.clinic or call (310)-310-8031.

If you feel like ketamine treatments could be right for you, schedule a screening, call us at (310-)-310-8031 or email info@goldenafternoon.clinic