Treatments such as ketamine psychotherapy face substantial financial and regulatory obstacles to dissemination into widespread use. Newly patented medications are able to generate enough capital to pay for studies required for FDA approval, personnel to apply for coverage on insurance plans, and marketing to establish a successful launch. Ketamine is an older drug with considerable evidence of efficacy for treatment resistant depression, and almost 50 years of data concerning safety as an anesthetic agent. However, it can no longer be patented, so there is no incentive for pharmaceutical companies to help get it into widespread use. In this paper we discuss some of the complex issues surrounding use of ketamine in the outpatient setting and share information and practice pearls that have been gathered through communication with other practitioners and through direct experience with over 1000 treatments involving 120 patients in the last eight years. The safety and appropriateness of intramuscular ketamine treatment in the outpatient psychiatric office is discussed. We hope to help proponents of effective mental health interventions navigate the actual and potential challenges involved in safe application of this treatment option outside of hospital-based programs.

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