What Is The “Normal Dose” Of Ketamine?

What Is The “Normal Dose” Of Ketamine?

When receiving the normal dose of ketamine, it provides sedative and analgesic effects. However, emerging research suggests ketamine can also help treatment for several mental health issues. This research could be potentially life-changing for people who have hard-to-treat mental health issues.

In recent years, patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) seek this drug. And, in fact, many clinics now offer ketamine therapy.

Although physicians should administer ketamine in a controlled health setting, you may still be curious as to what the normal dose of ketamine is. The short answer is that it depends on a few factors.

If you want to know what these factors are and which doses are normal, we explain below.

What Is The Desired Effect?

We now know what ketamine is used for, as well as how the medical community incorporates it into several applications. Some of these include the following.

Anesthetic use of ketamine was FDA-approved decades ago, and a nasal spray (Esketamine) for depression was approved more recently. All other uses of the drug are off-label (i.e., does not have approval to treat those conditions). In medical settings, the drug is given either intravenously (IV) or intramuscularly.

The dosage of ketamine depends on why you’re using it. The “normal” dose of ketamine varies from one application to the next.

How To Calculate The Normal Dose Of Ketamine

Calculating a ketamine dosage is similar to that of other drugs. The dosage is calculated by milligrams of a drug per kilogram (or pound) of a person’s body mass and expressed as mg/kg. For example, if the recommendation is a dosage of 0.5mg/kg and a person weighs 60kg, the calculation is as follows: 0.5 × 60 = 30mg

When using ketamine to induce anesthesia, an average dose of 2mg/kg IV leads to approximately five to ten minutes of dissociation. If a patient must sleep for longer, a medical professional can safely administer more medication.

Subanesthetic doses of ketamine are between 0.3 and 0.5mg/kg. Subanesthetic means refers to an amount that does not cause anesthesia. Ketamine for pain and depression falls in this range.

The normal dose of ketamine given for depressive symptoms is between 0.25mg/kg and 0.5mg/kg. Clinics tend to administer an amount in this range, but patients who don’t respond to 0.5mg/kg may receive a higher dose.

Researchers have found it a bit trickier to pinpoint the correct dose for pain management as degrees of pain differ. A study recommended that the ideal dose would be around 0.1 to 0.3 mg/kg for pain. However, it may vary depending on the type of pain and from one practice to the next.

Other Factors That May Determine Dosage

The desired effect is not the only factor that needs consideration when determining ketamine doses.

A patient’s age, whether they’ve taken ketamine before, and weight are also factors. Age plays a role because children metabolize ketamine faster than adults. As a result, adults need a higher dose.

Body mass is one of the aspects clinicians need to review when administering ketamine. Although clinicians use a person’s weight to calculate doses, patients who are clinically obese should not necessarily get much larger amounts. Health professionals should calculate dosage according to an ideal weight instead.

Sensitivity to ketamine also influences how much ketamine a person may receive. For example, if you’ve taken the substance before, you may require a higher dosage. However, those new to the psychedelic may experience different ketamine effects from a lower dosage.

What Amount Of Ketamine Is Dangerous?

Ketamine administered in therapeutic settings is reasonably safe: medical professionals observe patients and intervene if someone has a bad reaction. However, you may still be questioning whether a particular amount of ketamine can be dangerous.

After conducting numerous studies, experts have estimated that a lethal dose for humans would be around 600mg/kg. Fortunately, the average lethal dose of ketamine is far more than what you can expect at any clinic or hospital. So, given you receive treatment in a medical setting, you’re relatively safe using the drug.

What To Keep In Mind Discussing The Normal Dose Of Ketamine

Ketamine dosing can be tricky depending on who is using it for what. But there are a few crucial things you should be mindful of before considering treatment.

Illicit Use

Unfortunately, ketamine is also a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted or taken orally, and may cause floating or hallucinogenic effects (also known as a k-hole).

The problem with using the drug recreationally is that you do not know whether you’re taking only ketamine. It also increases the addictive potential, and you may not know how much ketamine you are taking and have an overdose.

We strictly advise against the illicit use of ketamine as it can severely compromise your cognitive health.

Underlying Conditions

People with underlying conditions should be wary when receiving a ketamine infusion. Some people experience adverse reactions from ketamine, especially patients with the following.

  • Active addiction
  • Hypertension
  • Brain disease
  • Liver problems

Talk to your doctor if you’d like to try ketamine therapy. You’ll have to go for a medical exam before doing so.

You should also inform your doctor if you are on any chronic medication before receiving ketamine treatment. Your doctor may need to adjust your ketamine dose to accommodate other medications you are taking.

Reputable Sources Understand The Normal Dose Of Ketamine

We cannot stress enough how important the environment in which you receive your treatment is. It is crucial that you receive ketamine therapy in the presence of a well-equipped healthcare team.

The healthcare team that surrounds you is vital. For one, they know how to respond should you have an adverse reaction. Two, they know just how much ketamine to give you.

There are multiple ketamine clinics across the country specializing in ketamine therapy, so you can do some research to see who fits your budget and who you trust. Here’s more information on some of these ketamine clinics — each of which offer experience using the alternative therapy, as well as proven success in recovery.

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Sian Ferguson

View all posts by Sian Ferguson

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer based in Cape Town, South Africa and she has written for publications such as Healthline, Greatist, and Psych Central to name a few.

Her work focuses on health and wellness, and she's particularly passionate. She believes health content should inform and empower readers, not confuse them!

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