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From The Doctors

How Long Does Ketamine Treatment Take to Work for Depression?

May 15, 2024

4 Factors That Determine How Long Ketamine Therapy Takes to Manage Symptoms of Depression (and how long it will last)


While ketamine’s rapid onset of action is a key benefit, the specific timeline for its effects can vary based on several factors. Here are four critical factors that determine how long it takes for ketamine treatment to work for depression:


1. Severity of Depression

The severity of a patient’s depressive symptoms plays a significant role in determining how quickly ketamine treatment will take effect.

  • Mild to Moderate Depression: Patients with less severe symptoms may experience rapid relief, sometimes within hours or days of the first infusion.
  • Severe Depression: Those with more severe depression might see dramatic improvements initially but may require a longer and more intensive course of treatment to achieve sustained relief. 

At Innovative Psychedelics, the protocol for depression treatment is a series of six infusions over a two-week time period. After the initial series, patients may require maintenance infusions around once per month. 

2. Individual Biological Factors

Individual differences in biology can greatly influence how quickly and effectively ketamine works.

  • Genetic Makeup: Genetic differences can affect how patients metabolize ketamine and how their brain chemistry responds to the treatment.
  • Metabolic Rate: Patients with different metabolic rates may process ketamine at different speeds, affecting the onset and duration of its effects.
  • Overall Health: General health and the presence of other medical conditions can also influence response times and effectiveness.

3. Concurrent Medications and Therapies

The use of other medications and therapies alongside ketamine treatment can impact its effectiveness and the speed at which it works.

  • Other Medications: Some medications can interact with ketamine, either enhancing or diminishing its effects. It’s crucial for healthcare providers to carefully manage these interactions.
  • Psychotherapy: Combining ketamine with psychotherapy can enhance the overall treatment effectiveness and possibly accelerate the timeline for noticing improvements.

The team from Innovative Psychedelics will carefully review your medical history, medications you are taking and discuss therapy in conjunction with ketamine infusions. 

4. Dosage and Administration Method

The dosage of ketamine and the method of its administration are significant factors in determining how quickly it will take effect.

  • Intravenous (IV) Infusion: IV infusions typically provide the fastest and most reliable onset of effects, with many patients feeling relief within hours.
  • Nasal Spray: This method can also offer quick relief but might have a slightly longer onset time compared to IV infusions.
  • Oral Administration: Oral ketamine tends to have a slower onset of action and may not be as effective as IV or nasal administration in providing rapid relief.


Understanding these four factors can help patients and healthcare providers anticipate and optimize the timeline for ketamine treatment in managing depression. By considering the severity of depression, individual biological factors, concurrent medications and therapies, and the method of administration, a tailored approach can be developed to maximize the benefits of ketamine treatment. 

If you are considering ketamine for depression, contact Innovative Psychedelics to learn more. We use medical insurance for your initial consultation. A complete overview of the treatment protocol and costs can be found here.