Ketamine has been approved as an anesthetic agent for surgery and as a painkiller for over 50 years, but the FDA has not yet approved the use of Ketamine to treat depression, and it is possible it may never approve it for this indication. Some pharmaceutical companies have begun developing copycat versions of Ketamine that can be taken orally, but these are several years from market.
What Does “Off-Label” Mean?
Physicians and psychiatrists often prescribe common medications for off-label use for all sorts of medical diagnosis and syndromes, and up to 20% of all physician prescriptions are for off-label treatment for patients with diagnosis ranging from diabetes to infertility, including Ketamine infusion for depression. As responsible medical practitioners, we want patients to know that Ketamine is “off-label” and still considered experimental in the field of depression treatment.
WebMD states that,
“The practice, called “off-label” prescribing, is entirely legal and very common. More than one in five outpatient prescriptions written in the U.S. are for off-label therapies…Off-label use is so common, that virtually every drug is used off-label in some circumstances.”