Oral Ketamine for depression and pain is a potent weapon in the arsenal of a educated psychiatrist’s tool-bag. It is often the case that chronic pain and depression are so intertwined that distinguishing between which causes which becomes impossible. Many patients find no success with traditional anti-depressants for depression and pain such as Cymbalta, Effexor, Elavil or Nortriptyline. Oral Ketamine for depression and pain is a new option that, when used by an experienced psychiatrist, can be one component of regaining control over a life filled with extreme depression coupled with the agony of pain.

Ketamine acts on NMDA receptors in the brain and spinal cord to modulate control over mood and pain. Traditionally IV infusion Ketamine has been utilized as a treatment for chronic treatment resistant depression but with the availability of oral Ketamine, options now exist to have daily Ketamine treatment at home.

Oral Ketamine can be even more effective at controlling pain than IV Ketamine due to the fact following an oral dose of Ketamine, the liver processes the drug into a metabolite called NorKetamine which is even more potent acting at certain pain centers of the brain. Combined with its effect on mood, the oral Ketamine approach has had potent results for people who struggle with these co-morbid conditions.

Ketamine has become one alternative to traditional Opioid treatment and Ketamine works very well in conjunction with good pain management via injections and other non-opioid techniques to control pain.

Both IV or oral forms of Ketamine have shown great promise and continue to offer effective alternatives to patients who are historically treatment resistant to traditional mood and pain control.

Michael Yasinski MD