Ketamine therapy has become an increasingly popular treatment option for certain mental health conditions like depression anxiety and PTSD. However, ketamine therapy may not be suitable for everyone. Determining who is not a good candidate for ketamine therapy is important to avoid adverse reactions and ensure the treatment is safe and effective.

Overview of Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine therapy involves administering low doses of ketamine through an IV infusion or as an intranasal spray. Ketamine is an anesthetic medication that can provide rapid relief from symptoms of depression anxiety OCD and chronic pain. It works by blocking glutamate receptors and increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels.

Ketamine therapy has shown promising results in reducing suicidal thoughts lifting mood and improving overall outlook within hours or days. However more research is needed to determine its long-term effects.

Medical Conditions Making Ketamine Therapy Unsuitable

Certain medical conditions may increase the risks associated with ketamine therapy.

Cardiovascular Conditions

People with high blood pressure arrhythmia heart disease or a history of heart attack may not be good candidates. Ketamine can increase heart rate and blood pressure.


Ketamine therapy can cause a temporary increase in eye pressure exacerbating glaucoma.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

The effects of ketamine on fetal development are unknown. Ketamine is excreted in breastmilk so breastfeeding women should avoid this treatment.

Psychotic Disorders

Ketamine may worsen symptoms of schizophrenia bipolar disorder and other psychotic disorders.

Substance Abuse

People with alcohol or drug dependence issues have a higher risk of abusing ketamine.

Medications that Interact with Ketamine

Ketamine should not be used with certain medications due to potentially dangerous interactions.

  • Benzodiazepines like Xanax can dangerously amplify the sedating effects of ketamine.
  • Blood pressure medications may lead to severely low blood pressure.
  • Corticosteroids like prednisone can increase the risk of psychosis.

Always inform your doctor of all prescription and over-the-counter medications you are taking.

Age Limitations

Ketamine therapy is typically only approved for adults over 18 years old. More research is needed to establish its safety and efficacy in children and teenagers.

Prior Bad Reactions to Ketamine

If you have had an adverse reaction to ketamine such as hallucinations confusion or severe nausea and vomiting you may not be a good candidate.

Contraindications Due to Liver or Kidney Disease

Your doctor will check liver and kidney function before prescribing ketamine. Impaired organ function may prevent safe metabolism and excretion of ketamine.

History of Substance Abuse

People with a history of drug abuse or addiction may be more likely to misuse and become dependent on ketamine.

When Ketamine Therapy May Be Suitable

Always discuss your medical history thoroughly with your doctor. Ketamine therapy may still be an option if you have mild well-controlled high blood pressure take medications that are monitored during treatment or have a past history of substance abuse but are committed to recovery. Close supervision by a doctor can allow many people to safely use ketamine therapy.


In Conclusion ketamine therapy is a promising treatment for certain mental health conditions but it does carry some risks. Being an informed patient and choosing an experienced doctor can help determine if you are a good candidate. Your provider will weigh the potential benefits against the risks based on your unique medical profile.

Who is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy