illustration of ketamine IV and antidepressants

Is Ketamine Safe to Take With Antidepressants?

Patients that seek out ketamine therapy may currently be taking an antidepressant medication. They may be resistant to stopping the medication before starting therapy for fear that their symptoms will get worse. It is only natural to wonder if ketamine is safe to take with antidepressants.

The simple answer is yes. Unlike other psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA, antidepressants are routinely administered alongside ketamine. For the nasal spray esketamine, FDA-approved use even requires it.

Are these medications safe to take with ketamine?

1. SSRIs

Most people taking antidepressants are perfectly safe to continue use while undergoing ketamine therapy. This includes the most commonly prescribed classes of antidepressants, SSRIs (Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft).

2. MAOIs

Using ketamine with MAOIs (an older class of antidepressants), should be done with more caution. MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) were introduced in the 1950s. They are now prescribed as a last resort as they come with a whole host of side effects.

Patients prescribed MAOIs alone must take special care of their diet or can risk a possibly fatal hypertensive crisis. Administering ketamine at the same time can increase heart rate and blood pressure itself.

3. SNRIs

It is generally safe to take SNRIs (Cymbalta, Effexor), Wellburtin and lithium with ketamine. This class of antidepressants can also increase blood pressure, but is usually minimal.

4. Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics—while not antidepressants—are sometimes prescribed for patients with bipolar depression. These drugs can blunt the positive effects of ketamine in some patients.

Safety at Nushama

In order to ensure the safety of patients at Nushama, a full medical history is taken before treatment. Secondly, clinicians perform a thorough screening on all new patients. If the patient is found to have high blood pressure, then treatment will not proceed. Patients who qualify for treatment will have their heart rate and blood pressure monitored throughout the entire infusion by trained professionals.

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