Esketamine is considered to be a safe treatment, particularly when delivered intra-nasally. However, as with any medication, it can have side effects. Everyone will react to the medication in a slightly different way and some will have more side effects than others.
The vast majority of these side effects will resolve within two hours, with 90% of them resolving on the day of treatment.
• Around one in three people experience dizziness.
• Around one in four will experience nausea, headache or dissociation (described above).
• Around one in five will experience sleepiness, vertigo, or change in taste sensation.
• Around one in ten will experience limb numbness or vomiting.
A less common, but important side effect is that esketamine increases blood pressure and heart rate. This needs careful monitoring, and may need treatment in clinic if it remains high. In the rare instances when this happens we will support you throughout.
People have also reported feeling euphoric, irritable or “a bit drunk”, seeing things that aren’t there, shakiness, difficulty speaking, tiredness, blurred vision, dry nose, dry mouth, and sweating.
Because esketamine has only recently been used in this way, we might still not know about all of its side-effects. This is why you will be monitored closely throughout your treatment. However, if any unexpected side-effects show up, we will take them seriously and will help you manage them, alongside your doctor.