Recent Blog Articles

Harvard Health Blog

Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions

May 22, 2019

About the Author

photo of Robert C. Meisner, MD

Robert C. Meisner, MD, Contributor

Robert C. Meisner, MD, is the medical director of the ketamine service in the psychiatric neurotherapeutics program at McLean Hospital, and an attending psychiatrist in the acute psychiatric service at Massachusetts General Hospital. He graduated from … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert C. Meisner, MD


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.


July 16, 2019

I’m wondering how effective this is compared to TMS? I read that it’s faster but is it more effective? How well does it work for the anxiety with depression?

Pam Carter
July 15, 2019

I have suffered from depression and fibromyalgia for most of my life. I have taken almost all anti depressants on the market, and none have provided prolonged relief. I have just tried TMS which began to work and then just stopped. The treatments became painful and I had to stop them. Evidently I am an anomaly with this type of treatment. I would definitely recommend trying it. So now I am going to try ketamine nasal spray and am hopeful this will work. I have been suicidal, which scares me. I am at the point that I would try anything that has been FDA approved and has a track record of working for 70% of those who have tried it

Jeryl Sachs
July 9, 2019

I am interested in any new information relating to Ketamine for depression and anxiety. I have both and take meds that don’t do much for me. I’m not suicidal for the most part only when I have extreme pain. I have tendinitis and arthritis in my hands and hips/Lowe back which at times really keeps me from being functional. Pain meds just make the anxiety and depression worse.

June 12, 2019

I had breast cancer 2 years ago, had treatment and I still have anxiety and depression. I have tried all kinds of drugs and they say I am treatment resistant. My psyc said they have ketamine nasal. Waiting for the insurance to approve. Has anyone tried it for depression caused by chronic medical problem and has it helped. I e been dealing with this for 2 years. Prior to this I was pretty stable. Now I am a mess. I want to live my life.
Thank You

Lavender Sedlock
June 6, 2019

The combination of side effects and addictive properties does not make this drug’s benefits outweigh the positive effects. When an individual is suicidal, they need therapeutic support and/or social services. What in their life is causing this struggle? Do they have access to basic needs? Are their basic human rights being compromised? There are many questions that a therapist or social worker could address. In my opinion, a drug like this is abusive to give any patient suffering from depression.

June 6, 2019

What are your qualifications? This sounds like an opinion. Maybe take some time to look at the research. There are many things that can change the way a persons brain works such as trauma, neurological changes! You can talk yourself to death but you need to for new neuropathways to allow for a person to have a chance. Please do your research before you decide what the right next step Is for people suffering. They aren’t giving ketamine to people who haven’t tried and most likely run out of options.

June 17, 2019

Ketamine IV protocol has been an absolute godsend to our family member who was at the point of depression with suicidal ideation. Godsend. Gave him HOPE and gave him his life back – got him off of meds that were doing him zero good and most likely causing the ideation.

From what I understand, Esketamine is not the “front line” choice for treatment, and still needs to be done in a clinical setting, but better used as the “booster” – just like the losenges are by some clinics. IV dosages and protocols vary between Dr’s. Some protocols are more aggressive than others. We could not wait for insurance to cover, we had to go for it…. Glad we did. His life is worth any cost it cost to do the Ket. <3 forever grateful to Ketamine Clinic of Los Angeles and Dr. Mandel.

Lisa Gray
June 5, 2019

I have been fortunate to receive Ketamine infusions for Treatment Resistant Depression for the past 6 1/2 years. Since I began this treatment, I have felt much relief from the depression that has plagued me since childhood. I was highly suicidal before I tried this treatment. Unlike many patients I am able to receive my infusions at a large academic medical center near my home. My response to this medication continues to be excellent. However, it is not perfect. I’m not “cured” but considered to be in partial remission. I do well most of the time but I still have times of deep depression. The difference is that these “down” times do not last too long and I know I will get better. The side effects are tolerable and I don’t worry too much about long term use. Candidates for ketamine need to be screened very carefully and protocols must be in place for skilled administration of this medication. I believe that Ketamine can be a powerful option for certain patients when used safely.

June 11, 2019

have you been checked for hypothyroidism or hashimotos? that can cause your symptoms

June 14, 2019

Do you need all 6 initial infusions before you know if it works? My son had the the First 2. Felt good after both but then down again on the 3rd day. He has 4 more infusions over the next 2 weeks. Could he expect it to work?

Barbara Johnson
May 27, 2019

How useful is Keyamine for chronic pain?

Susan Holsombeck
June 20, 2019

Hi ! I suffered from chronic pain and depression for 18 years from a cervical fusion . I had 2 IV Ketamine infusions , one on a Monday and the last one on a Wednesday. This drug has been miraculous for me . My pain is 95% gone and I don’t feel depressed! My doctor at Kalypso Wellness (Houston) told me to walk because it will help the Ketamine to be more effective . I went back for a booster 6 months later , which is 1 -2 treatments .. I haven’t had a treatment in 1 year and I am doing better than ever . I also love the fact that a treatment was only $200 . My daughter has been dealing with clinical depression, Lexapro 20 mg is not working, she has been dealing with depression for 3 years . I am going with her to Houston so she can have Ketamine infusions . Hope this helps someone .

Vikram Singh
May 27, 2019

Thanks for posting useful information related to depression. Consulting in depression can be a useful tool as it can lead to positive mood.

Commenting has been closed for this post.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.