top of page
  • John M. Thurston, MD

Ketamine and TMS: An Overview

If you're searching for "ketamine and TMS," you're likely looking for effective treatment options for depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. Both ketamine and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) have emerged as promising alternatives to traditional therapies. However, understanding the key differences between these two treatments can help you make an informed decision about your mental health care.

Ketamine and TMS: An Overview

Ketamine, initially used as an anesthetic, has shown significant results in treating depression, particularly treatment-resistant depression. Many people with PTSD, anxiety and OCD also report significant benefits. It works by targeting the glutamate system in the brain, which is involved in learning and memory.

On the other hand, TMS is a non-invasive procedure that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. It's primarily used to treat depression when other treatments haven't been effective.

Key Differences Between Ketamine and TMS

1. Method of Administration

Ketamine is typically administered intravenously, though it can also be given orally or through a nasal spray. TMS, however, involves placing a large electromagnetic coil against your scalp near your forehead. The electromagnet used in TMS creates electric currents that stimulate nerve cells in the region of your brain involved in mood control and depression.

2. Duration and Frequency of Treatment

Ketamine treatment usually involves a series of infusions over several weeks. Each infusion lasts about 50-60 minutes, and patients typically start with six infusions over three weeks.

TMS treatment, on the other hand, is more time-intensive. A typical course of TMS involves sessions five days a week for five to six weeks. Each session lasts about 30-60 minutes.

3. Side Effects

Ketamine can cause side effects like nausea, increased blood pressure, and disorientation or confusion during and shortly after the infusion. Some people may also experience hallucinations or other changes in perception.

TMS is generally well-tolerated. Common side effects include headaches and scalp discomfort at the treatment site. It can also cause lightheadedness. However, these side effects usually improve after the first week of treatment.

4. Effectiveness and Speed of Results

Both ketamine and TMS have been shown to be effective in treating depression. However, ketamine often works faster, with some patients reporting improvements in their symptoms within hours or days. TMS typically takes longer to work, with most patients noticing improvements after several weeks of treatment.


Both ketamine and TMS offer hope for individuals struggling with mental health conditions, particularly those who haven't responded to traditional treatments. If you're searching for "ketamine and TMS," it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider to discuss these options and decide which treatment may be best for you. Remember, the goal is to find a treatment that not only effectively manages your symptoms but also aligns with your lifestyle and personal preferences.

If you are interested in learning more or would like to schedule a consultation. Please feel free to give us a call or text at 208-215-7936.


bottom of page