Ketamine for Postpartum Depression (PPD)
As is often the case when a medication is found to be effective in treating one condition, it is then typically investigated as an option to treat related conditions. With excellent evidence that ketamine is helpful in the treatment of treatment resistant depression and other mental health conditions, it has more recently been investigated as an option for treating postpartum depression (PPD).
What is PPD?
Postpartum depression is depressed mood, often accompanied by anxiety and ambivalence that most commonly occurs within 6 weeks of childbirth, though it can present during any trimester of pregnancy. In the United States, PPD is estimated to occur in 6.5% to 20% of postpartum women, but it is often believed to be underreported. Its exact cause is currently unknown, however its pathogenesis has been suggested to involve a woman’s genetics, hormonal, and psychological changes, as well as life stressors .
What does the evidence currently suggest?
Currently, while multiple studies have been conducted on ketamine for PPD, the consensus is that additional research must be conducted to verify with certainty that ketamine is effective in either preventing or treating PPD. One double-blind clinical trial from 2021 used ketamine in woman who were scheduled for c-section. The test subjects were given a subanesthetic dose of ketamine as part of their general anesthetic prior to delivery by c-section. This study found a statistically significant decrease in rate of PPD in the study group . Multiple other studies have been conducted to investigate the treatment of PPD after delivery and have shown that this treatment may indeed prove effective but will need further investigation before this can be recommended as standard or first line treatment .
Can Ketamine be used safely for PPD today? If a client is interested in ketamine therapy for PPD, there is evidence to support its use. A thorough review of the individual client’s condition, along with an in-depth discussion of risks, benefits, and alternatives must be undertaken prior to treatment. Ketamine is safely used in anesthesia during pregnancy and lactation, including notably in hemorrhagic emergencies in pregnant woman. It quickly clears from the maternal system and is safe for breastfeeding mothers .
If you are pregnant and concerned about PPD or are currently experiencing PPD and are interested in learning if ketamine may be a good fit for you, please reach out to us at Frequency Healing Clinic to schedule a consultation.
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