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Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?

Who is not a good candidate for ketamine therapy

Ketamine therapy has gained significant attention in recent years as a potential breakthrough in mental health treatment. Known for its unique ability to rapidly alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders, ketamine therapy has emerged as a promising alternative when traditional treatments fall short. However, it’s crucial to understand that not everyone is a good candidate for ketamine therapy. Let’s look at some situationa that may make an individual unsuitable for ketamine therapy.

Understanding Ketamine Therapy

Before we explore who is not a good fit for ketamine therapy, let’s briefly understand what this treatment entails. Ketamine, initially developed as an anesthetic (yes, it has been used as a horse tranquilizer too), has shown remarkable effects on mental health when administered in controlled, therapeutic doses. The mechanism of action involves influencing glutamate receptors in the brain, leading to the release of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood and alleviate symptoms of various mental health disorders.

Ketamine therapy typically involves the administration of the drug through intravenous infusion, intramuscular injection, sublingual lozenges or nasal spray, under the supervision of a trained medical professional. The treatment often consists of a series of sessions, with the frequency and dosage tailored to the individual’s needs and response.

Eligibility For Ketamine Therapy

At our ketamine clinic in Lakewood, Colorado, we work solely with sublingual lozenges. Candidates must:

  • Be 18+ years
  • Be in Colorado
  • Have the support of a therapist
  • Have an eligible mental health diagnosis

Identifying Who Is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy

While ketamine therapy has demonstrated positive outcomes for many individuals, it may not be suitable for everyone. With our medical providers, clients are evaluated to ensure that ketamine therapy is safe.

Here are several factors that may indicate someone is not a good candidate for ketamine therapy:

Medical Contraindications:

Individuals with certain medical conditions may be at risk during ketamine therapy.

  • Uncontrolled Hypertension: Clients with uncontrolled high blood pressure may be at an increased risk during ketamine therapy. The potential cardiovascular effects of ketamine could exacerbate hypertension, posing a risk to the patient’s health.
  • Severe Cardiovascular Disorders: Individuals with severe cardiovascular disorders, such as advanced heart failure or significant coronary artery disease, may not be good candidates for ketamine therapy. The drug’s impact on heart function could potentially lead to complications in individuals with compromised cardiovascular systems.
  • History of Strokes: Individuals with a history of strokes may be advised against ketamine therapy. The drug’s potential effects on blood pressure and circulation may pose additional risks for individuals who have experienced strokes in the past.
  • Acute or Unstable Medical Conditions: Ketamine therapy may not be suitable for people with acute or unstable medical conditions. The focus should be on stabilizing the underlying medical condition before considering ketamine treatment to ensure the patient’s safety.
  • Liver or Kidney Dysfunction: Ketamine is metabolized in the liver, and its byproducts are excreted through the kidneys. Individuals with severe liver or kidney dysfunction may experience difficulties in processing and eliminating ketamine, potentially leading to adverse effects.
  • Respiratory Conditions: Individuals with severe respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or compromised lung function, may be at an increased risk during ketamine therapy. The drug’s respiratory depressant effects could potentially worsen existing respiratory issues.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The safety of ketamine therapy during pregnancy and breastfeeding is not well-established. Pregnant individuals or those breastfeeding should exercise caution, and alternative treatments with a more established safety profile should be considered to avoid potential harm to the unborn or nursing child.
  • Glaucoma: Ketamine may increase intraocular pressure, making it potentially unsafe for individuals with glaucoma. Increased pressure within the eye can lead to complications and may exacerbate pre-existing eye conditions.
  • Known Allergies to Ketamine: Individuals with a known allergy to ketamine or its components should not undergo ketamine therapy due to the risk of severe allergic reactions.


Psychiatric Conditions Unresponsive to Ketamine: While ketamine has shown promise in treating various mental health disorders, not all conditions respond equally well to this therapy. Some individuals with specific psychiatric conditions may not experience the desired benefits, and alternative treatments should be explored. Additionally, individuals with a history of psychosis or certain personality disorders may be at an increased risk of adverse reactions.

Substance Abuse Issues: Individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction may not be suitable candidates for ketamine therapy. Ketamine’s dissociative effects could potentially exacerbate addictive tendencies or trigger substance-seeking behavior. It is essential to address substance abuse concerns before considering ketamine treatment, as ketamine has also shown to help substance abuse issues as well.

Unrealistic Expectations

Individuals harboring unrealistic expectations or a lack of understanding about the nature of ketamine therapy may not be suitable candidates. It’s so important for clients to have a realistic understanding of the treatment’s potential benefits and limitations. Open communication with your ketamine therapist will help ensure alignment in expectations.

Ketamine therapy holds immense promise as a transformative treatment for various mental health conditions, offering hope to those who have not found relief through traditional methods. However, it is equally important to recognize that not everyone is an ideal candidate for this innovative approach. Careful consideration of medical and psychiatric history, substance abuse issues, and realistic expectations is essential in identifying individuals who may not benefit from ketamine therapy or could be at risk of adverse effects.

As research in this field continues to evolve, healthcare professionals must stay informed and regularly reassess the criteria for suitable candidates. By understanding the limitations and potential risks, we can ensure that ketamine therapy is administered responsibly, providing effective relief for those who stand to benefit t


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