Ketamine Oral Dissolving Tablet (ODT) Treatment Information and Instructions

by | Dec 31, 2023

What does ketamine feel like?

Everyone has a different experience. Most people describe entering a deeply relaxed state where your perceptions of light, sound, and memory change significantly. Some patients have short periods of distress if feeling out of control. This is rare and usually doesn’t last more than several minutes.
Properly preparing for a treatment will help provide a more therapeutic experience and reduce the chance of these feelings. Having a trusted person nearby for home treatments is required. Flow Wellness can arrange for treatments to be accompanied by our medical staff for an additional fee. If you have a bad experience during a treatment, please talk with our health care team prior to doing another treatment. Patients also experience the greatest benefit if working with a mental health professional to process what comes up during treatments. It is helpful to write down your thoughts and experience to process later.

Ketamine should not be used with other mind altering substances such as alcohol, marijuana, or other recreational drugs due to unpredictable effects.

How long does ODT Ketamine treatment last?

Expect to not feel yourself the rest of the day after the treatment. You should be back to normal the next day but you will likely notice some background changes which are variable, but generally positive. The effects often decrease over the following 1-2 weeks. Initial dosing is typical twice weekly for the first two weeks.

What are side effects of ketamine treatment?

Ketamine can cause nausea and vomiting. We recommend not eating food within 3 hours prior to a treatment and not drinking liquids within one hour of a treatment. Ketamine increases heart rate and blood pressure. Ketamine affects balance. You should not drive or operate machinery the entire day after a session. Also, avoid making any major decisions that could have personal or financial consequences during treatment. Be careful getting up after the treatment and use caution on stairs. Use your trusted person to help with moving if you feel off balance. These effects will usually go away within an hour or two after the intense experience.
Long term ketamine use can lead to dependency where a person relies on the drug to feel normal. Long term ketamine use has been associated with bladder dysfunction. Please stop ketamine and contact your provider if you develop pain with urination, inability to urinate normally, blood in your urine, or any other changes in urination.

How do I prepare for a ketamine treatment?

We recommend you schedule a home treatment ahead of time and plan your day around it. Clearing any mental to-dos and feeling relaxed with yourself will allow for a more therapeutic experience. Light exercise the morning of your treatment will also help relax the body during your session. It can be challenging to fall asleep immediately after a ketamine treatment so it is best to avoid a session in the evening.
The most dramatic effects of ketamine last about 2-3 hours. You should not drive or operate machinery after using ketamine for the entire rest of the day. Ketamine affects your balance. We recommend a relaxing day after your treatment. Avoid working at your job until the next day as your perceptions and thoughts will be different for the rest of the treatment day.
Find a calm and quiet location to lie down for your treatment. You will not wish to hear distracting sounds. We recommend noise-canceling headphones if there is distracting background noise in your environment. Most patients wear an eye mask to fully enter the internal psyche during a session. Listening to instrumental music can be helpful as well, but it’s best to avoid overly complicated music or music with lyrics as this can be excessively distracting.

What is an intention?

Intention is an aim or a purpose. It’s something you plan to do or achieve. Think of it as a goal of treatment. For some, it might be improving mood or decreasing anxiety. Others might wish to break a chronic pain cycle. It’s often best to focus on a specific goal rather than a general idea. We recommend working with a therapist or counselor to aid in your treatment goals.

How do I take an oral dissolving tablet (ODT)?

The stomach breaks down ketamine, so if it is swallowed it will not be as effective. The ODT tablets should be placed under the tongue (you can use a mirror) and kept there for 15 minutes. Set a timer. Avoid talking, eating, or drinking during the 15 minutes. The tablet may taste bitter. Often saliva will build up in the mouth. This is normal. Try to minimize swallowing unless necessary. You may not feel anything unusual during the first 15 minutes. Start to prepare your mind and body for the experience. We recommend relaxing instrumental music with minimal voices. There are several great playlists available on Spotify. Search for ketamine to review the options. The Ketalove series is fantastic.

What happens when I take Ketamine?

After 15 minutes swallow the saliva or spit in your mouth. Find your relaxing space and focus on your breathing and your intention. You will likely slowly drift into a deeper space. It is best to surrender to the experience rather than fight it. You will likely find yourself letting go of the experience and see where it is taking you. If the experience is distressing, focus on your breathing. One deep slow inhale and then one deep long exhale. Repeat. Remember that the experience will change and will end. As the experience fades out, try and stay in your internal space as long as you can. Bring back your intention and reflect on it further. As you come back to reality, expect to feel relaxed. Your balance will be off and you may feel disoriented and/or groggy. Move very slowly. A light snack and a glass of water can be helpful. Plan a relaxing day afterwards.
Your timing may vary but this timeline is common for most patients:
0-15 minutes: Tablet dissolving in mouth, minimal effects
15-45 minutes: Full effect of dose
45-75 minutes: Dose gradually wears off, awakening to regular consciousness
75 mins – 120 mins: Side effects of balance issues and grogginess resolve 10-12 hrs: Ketamine out of system, ok to drive and go back to work
We require a trusted person to be nearby (immediately available by voice) in case you need any assistance. Contact us if you would like to do your first dose in our clinic.
Your first treatment of ketamine will likely not be as intense. You may not fully sink into your mind. That is ok! It is better to start slow and become familiar with this medicine than overdo it.

What to do after the treatment?

Do your best to stay in a relaxing environment. Store the remaining ketamine out of the sun and out of reach of children. We recommend writing about your experience and any observations you noticed. The effects often last up to 2 weeks though may wear off sooner until you have had several treatments of ketamine at the therapeutic dose.
If you are coming up on your last two doses, please notify us so we can get a refill sent in for you.

This blog post is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.

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