six syringes pointed together with their tips to a single spot, plus a right woman's hand holding one of the syringes

Ketamine therapy is used to treat a variety of different conditions and diseases. Not every patient will experience the same side effects, but it’s important to know about those possible side effects before you start using Ketamine.

For instance, ketamine nasal spray has different effects than ketamine injections, which we’ll explore further below. But first, let’s look at how Ketamine works and what it’s used to treat. Then we can take a closer look at its possible side effects and risks.

What is Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine therapy is a treatment option that utilizes Ketamine as a safe and effective means of pain management. Ketamine has become increasingly popular because it offers an alternative to opioids to treat chronic pain. Ketamine is FDA approved for use as an anesthetic. More recently, it has been used off-label to treat acute or chronic pain,1 depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

However, there are some potential side effects when using this drug as prescribed by your doctor. These side effects can range from numbness at the injection site to possible liver damage and inflammation of heart valves.

There have also been reports that high doses may cause kidney damage or death if administered intravenously, so medical supervision is highly recommended. 

If you’re taking Ketamine as prescribed, it is both safe and effective with few negative side effects. Misusing Ketamine, though, poses a serious threat to your health and well-being.

iv nurse at home hanging bag

Common side effects

One of the most common side effects of ketamine therapy is the feeling of being out of touch with reality.

Other symptoms include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory loss
  • Drooping eyelids.

These are usually minor reactions and can be overcome by slowly adjusting to a ketamine dose. If these side effects persist or worsen, the patient should contact their doctor immediately. 

Serious side effects

Ketamine therapy carries many benefits, but it’s also important to know its possible serious side effects. 

Below are some side effects2 that should be brought to your doctor or nurse’s attention immediately.

  • Bloody urine
  • Change in vision
  • Chest Pain
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there
  • Seizures
  • Trouble breathing
  • Unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness.

There are fewer risks involved when taking Ketamine as prescribed, but one still needs to be aware of all the possible side effects beforehand, so they’re prepared to address them if they arise.

What kinds of Short-Term Ketamine side effects can you expect?

Side effects of ketamine therapy are generally short-term and vary depending on the specific use. For example, ketamine injections may cause some of the symptoms outlined above, as well as swelling, redness, or tenderness at the injection site. Patients who take ketamine intranasally may experience side effects3 such as nasal irritation or itching, throat irritation, or changes in taste.

A man holding his tummy.

Some of the most common short-term side effects include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Weight gain
  • Headache after ketamine infusion
  • Muscle spasms
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety.

What kinds of Long-Term Ketamine side effects can you expect?

There are a few potential long-term ketamine side effects to be aware of. One of the most common is increased blood pressure and heart rate, which is caused when Ketamine blocks norepinephrine reuptake. This can lead to a higher risk of heart attack, stroke, seizures, and liver damage. Ketamine has also been known to cause some bladder problems4 and lower back pain.

Some long-term side effects, such as impairments in cognition, come when Ketamine is taken at high doses. Low cognitive ability due to ketamine abuse may result in a lack of decision-making skills and increased impulsive behavior.

Withdrawal symptoms of Ketamine

Withdrawal symptoms5 generally occur when users become dependent on the drug. When dependent, tolerance develops after prolonged use. Withdrawal symptoms occur if the medication is suddenly stopped without gradually decreasing the dose (going “cold turkey”).

When people abuse Ketamine, they can experience a range of withdrawal symptoms. In particular, it’s common to experience memory, attention span, and hallucination problems.

There is also an increased risk of depression and suicidal ideation during withdrawal.

A lonely tree that has a symmetrical reflection with the water between the camera and itself.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms is dependent on two main factors. Firstly, how quickly they are taken off Ketamine, and secondly, how often they use Ketamine. Generally speaking, users who stop using slowly and don’t take high doses of Ketamine may experience mild to no withdrawal symptoms. However, users dependent upon high doses or who use it daily will likely experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

What types of Drug Interactions does Ketamine have?

The type of drug interaction that Ketamine has is based on what the person is taking and why. For example, Ketamine can cause liver damage if taken with alcohol or acetaminophen. Ketamine can also interfere with the body’s metabolism of other drugs, causing various potential problems.

black woman with hands crossed in a "X" symbol

Known drug interactions6 to avoid include:

  • Theophylline or Aminophylline: May lower the seizure threshold.
  • Sympathomimetics and Vasopressin: May enhance the sympathomimetic effects of Ketamine.
  • Benzodiazepines, Opioid Analgesics, or Other CNS Depressants: May result in profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.

Drug interactions should be taken seriously. You must be honest and up-front with your provider about all medications, supplements, and over-the-counter products. You must also inform your care providers of alcohol or recreational drug use. Don’t hold anything back. Your health care team can do a better job of protecting you if they are equipped with all relevant information about your medications.

Is it Safe to use Ketamine Nasal Spray?

It is safe to use ketamine nasal spray as directed under the supervision of a medical professional. It is important to note that the potential side effects and risks of using ketamine nasal spray are minimal if used as prescribed by a doctor. 

Before agreeing to use ketamine nasal spray, discussing these risks with a medical professional is recommended. Depending on your medical condition, your doctor may prescribe additional treatments or therapies to help manage any potential side effects. 

Ketamine nasal spray side effects are similar to infusions. Those side effects can include, but are not limited to:

  • Hallucinations
  • Floating sensations
  • Fuzzy vision
  • Dizziness.

Lastly, beware of compounded Ketamine nasal sprays, it is NOT FDA-approved!

redhead woman with black eyeglasses giving herself a dose of some nasal spray

Is Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression Safe?

When Ketamine is administered properly and under supervision, it can safely provide short-term relief from symptoms of depression.7 Doctors will only prescribe Ketamine for depression if it is safe and the benefits of treatment outweigh the potential risks, which can only be determined on a case-by-case basis. For example, your doctor may recommend ketamine alongside cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, or they may recommend selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) instead of ketamine infusions.

a woman hugging herself outside in the rain with water droplets on the camera

Other drugs may be more appropriate than Ketamine for treating depression, depending on your condition and specific symptoms.

Your doctor will help you determine which drug is best for you. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about any medication they recommend, and make sure you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision.

Although experts note that Ketamine is safe when used properly,8 the drug can cause unwanted side effects as discussed earlier. Taking too much ketamine can also lead to an overdose or cause the user to experience prolonged hallucinations that make it difficult to function normally.

Ketamine & Alcohol Use

It is possible to develop a tolerance to Ketamine, meaning that higher drug doses will be needed to get the desired effect. People may increase the effect of this drug by combining Ketamine with alcohol9 (either before or after taking it). 

Ketamine should never be combined with alcohol, as doing so may cause serious health problems. The two substances work together synergistically and can cause a person’s heart rate and blood pressure to drop dangerously low. 

Individuals who use ketamine and alcohol may experience symptoms such as:

  • Becoming disoriented, losing touch with reality, and/or feeling extremely vulnerable or sociable
  • Significantly impaired motor coordination or muscle rigidity
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability, increased aggression
  • Amnesia
  • Potential liver and brain damage
  • Potential cardiovascular effects
  • Serious effects from an overdose can include organ damage and even death.
black and white picture of a sign that reads "No alcohol beyond this point"

Ketamine and alcohol10 are potentially fatal as they significantly slow down breathing. On top of slowed breathing, this mixture can also have cognitive and cardiovascular side effects. 

If you or someone you know has taken Ketamine and alcohol, it’s important to call 911 if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Trouble breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Collapse.

For those seeking help for addiction or other mental health disorders, we recommend finding an addiction treatment center where physicians can prescribe the appropriate treatment(s) individually tailored to your needs.

Toxicity of Ketamine

Abusing Ketamine can significantly impact many organs, including the brain, heart, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and genitourinary system. In patients who misuse Ketamine, the likelihood of serious, end-stage organ damage increases significantly. Ketamine is excreted through urine in both its original form and as metabolites.

a stand of glass bottles with harmful chemicals inside, and a background of a white wall with graffiti

The effects of ketamine intoxication11 can last between 15 minutes to several hours, depending on the dose, type of ketamine used (e.g., nasal spray, infusion, etc.), and how often it is used. 

Because of the potential risks associated with misusing Ketamine, it’s important to always seek care from a medical professional who can monitor your treatment. They can help ensure that your treatment program is as safe and effective as possible.

Ketamine Use and Misuse

Ketamine is a medication used as an anesthetic and analgesic agent, but it can be used off-label for purposes such as:

  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Postpartum depression.

Even when a drug is used under a doctor’s supervision, ketamine can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting. However, it is important to remember that these symptoms often disappear shortly after taking Ketamine. Misusing Ketamine by using too much of it can cause severe side effects, including high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, confusion, hallucinations, or even death.

It is important to keep in mind how serious misuse can be. Misusing Ketamine, especially with other drugs or alcohol, poses a great risk of negative consequences. It is important to always seek professional help. They will be able to determine what kind of dosage will work best for your needs and what adjunct treatments are available.

Regenerate Your Brain with At-Home Ketamine IV Therapy

Ketamine IV Therapy is the most bioavailable way to treat and regulate brain synapses and chemical imbalances. With our services, you can book an appointment and a certified nurse will come to your location to provide Ketamine IV treatment. Any serious side effects will be prevented, and misuse would be impossible with the help of our nurse on-site, during and after therapy.

Click the button to learn more about the benefits of Ketamine IV therapy and book an appointment or schedule a free consultation which will help you make your decision.

Ketamine IV - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I prepare for a ketamine IV appointment?

Don’t eat anything 4-6 hours before treatment. Clear out your schedule for much of the day to lower your stress levels. It is not recommended to have the session late at night as treatment may impact sleep.

What are the ketamine IV post-session recommendations?

Avoid large social gatherings and work obligations in the coming days as you may feel vulnerable. Avoid driving or the use of machinery for 4-6 hours after treatment.

Can you use ketamine for depression treatment?

Yes, ketamine can be used as a treatment for depression. It is a fast-acting medication that has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of depression in people who have not responded well to other forms of treatment. 

Can you use ketamine for chronic pain treatment?

Yes, ketamine can be used to treat chronic pain. It is a fast-acting medication that has been shown to be effective in reducing pain in people who have not responded well to other forms of treatment.

Can you use ketamine for anxiety treatment?

Ketamine is a fast-acting medication that has been used to treat anxiety in people who have not responded well to other forms of treatment. However, it is not currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of anxiety, and should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider.

Can you use ketamine for ptsd treatment?

Yes, ketamine has been studied as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it is still a relatively new treatment and more research is needed to understand its long-term effects.

What happens if you mix ketamine and alcohol?

When ketamine and alcohol are mixed, they can have a synergistic effect, which means that the combined effects of the two substances are greater than the sum of their individual effects. Mixing ketamine and alcohol can be dangerous and can cause a number of adverse effects, including increased risk of injury, impaired judgment and coordination, and increased risk of overdose. 

Can you use ketamine for bi-polar disorder treatment?

Yes, ketamine has been investigated as a potential therapy for bipolar illness. It is a quick-acting medicine that has been demonstrated to be useful in lowering bipolar disorder symptoms in persons who have not reacted well to other kinds of therapy.

How does Ketamine work?

Ketamine works by blocking certain receptors in the brain that are involved in the perception of pain. It also affects other brain chemicals, such as dopamine and glutamate, which can help to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. The exact way in which ketamine produces these effects is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve changes in the communication between different brain regions. In addition to its pain-relieving and mood-enhancing effects, ketamine can also cause a dissociative state, in which a person feels detached from their surroundings and their own thoughts and feelings.

Can you use ketamine for OCD treatment?

Yes, ketamine has been examined as an obsessive-compulsive disorder therapy (OCD). It is a short-acting medicine that has been demonstrated to be useful in lowering OCD symptoms in persons who have not reacted well to conventional treatments. It is, however, a relatively new medication, and further study is required to understand its long-term implications. It is critical to consult with a doctor about the possible advantages and hazards of taking ketamine to treat OCD.

Can you use ketamine for seizure treatment?

In individuals with SRSE(super-refractory status epilepticus), ketamine therapy is related to a reduction in seizure load. As a result, findings support the idea that ketamine IV treatments reduce seizures in patients.

Can you give ketamine to your pet for pain relief?

Ketamine can be given to your pet for pain relief but it is also often used on pets for sedation, restraint and anesthesia. However, make sure you consult with your veterinarian before giving ketamine to your pet. 

Is topical ketamine effective?

The effectiveness of topical ketamine is not well-established. There is limited research on the use of topical ketamine for any condition so more research is needed to understand the potential benefits and risks of using this form of ketamine.

What are the most common types of ketamine?

There are three different types of ketamine including RS, S and R ketamine.

What is Ketamine used for medically?

Ketamine is primarily used as an anesthetic for surgical procedures and other medical procedures that require pain management. It is also used for managing pain in certain chronic pain conditions, such as complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb syndrome. In addition, ketamine is sometimes used as a sedative for people who are undergoing mechanical ventilation, and it may be used in emergency situations to help manage symptoms of severe depression.

What are the side-effects of Ketamine IV therapy?

The most common side effects of ketamine IV therapy include dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision. Other potential side effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, and temporary numbness or tingling in the skin. In rare cases, ketamine IV therapy can cause more serious side effects, such as hallucinations, agitation, and increased risk of seizures. It is important to talk to your doctor about the potential risks and benefits of ketamine IV therapy before starting treatment.

Is Ketamine addictive?

There is some evidence to suggest that ketamine can be addictive, especially when it is used recreationally. However, when it is used as prescribed by a doctor for medical purposes, the risk of addiction is much lower. This is because ketamine is typically only used for short periods of time, and it is often given in controlled medical settings.

How can Ketamine be administered and what is your best option?

Ketamine can be administered in several ways, including as an injection, intravenous infusion, or nasal spray. The best option for administering ketamine will depend on the specific situation and the person's individual needs. 


[1] Ketamine use in current clinical practice - PMC;

[2] Ketamine (Injection Route) Side Effects - Mayo Clinic;

[3] Esketamine (Nasal Route) Side Effects - Mayo Clinic;

[4] Long-term safety of ketamine and esketamine in treatment of depression: Expert Opinion on Drug Safety: Vol 21, No 6;

[5] Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Detox Treatment ;

[6] ketamine hydrochloride injection, USP Drug Interactions | Pfizer Medical Information - US;

[7] Efficacy and Safety of Flexibly Dosed Esketamine Nasal Spray Combined With a Newly Initiated Oral Antidepressant in Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Randomized Double-Blind Active-Controlled Study | American Journal of Psychiatry;

[8] Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: When and where is it safe? - Harvard Health;

[9] Dangers of Mixing Ketamine and Alcohol;

[10] Ketamine and Alcohol: Is It Dangerous to Mix Them? (;

[11] Ketamine Toxicity - StatPearls - NCBI;