PS01c – Safety and Tolerability of Intramuscular and Sublingual Ketamine-Assisted Therapy in a Group Psychotherapy Setting

PS01c – Safety and Tolerability of Intramuscular and Sublingual Ketamine-Assisted Therapy in a Group Psychotherapy Setting

Thursday, Oct. 19
14:30 – 15:30 (N/A)
Meeting Room: Finback (3rd floor – B Tower)
Vivian W. L. Tsang*, MD MPH; Brendan Tao BSc; Shannon Dames, RN MPH EdD; Zach Walsh, PhD; and Pam Kryskow MD CCFP

CanMEDS Roles:

  1. Scholar
  2. Health Advocate
  3. Communicator

At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Understand the safety and tolerability of ketamine-assisted therapy; 2) Describe the risks involved in ketamine-assisted therapy; and 3) Understand common medications used to mitigate symptoms.

In the last few years, ketamine has become increasingly common in treating mental health conditions. Still, safety data informing intramuscular and sublingual dosing in a community-focused group psychotherapy setting are lacking. The Roots to Thrive Ketamine-Assisted Therapy (RTT-KaT) is a unique twelve-week program with twelve Community-of-Practice (a form of group therapy) sessions and three ketamine medicine sessions.

Methods: A chart review of the RTT-KaT program was performed retrospectively on four cohorts (n = 128) who participated in 448 sessions between September 2020 and December 2021. Baseline characteristics and adverse events were captured, including medication administration before, during, and after the RTT-KaT sessions. Analyses both by session and by individual were conducted. Chi-squared test with Yates’ continuity correction was used to assess side effects in subgroups from ketamine administration.

Results: RTT-KaT was well tolerated, with none of the 128 participants dropping out of the program. From the 448 sessions, 49.16% had elevated blood pressure post-KaT, session by session. Regarding other adverse effects, 12.05% of participant sessions experienced nausea, 2.52% had an episode of vomiting, 3.35% had a headache, and seven experienced dizziness. Analysis by individual revealed congruent findings.

Conclusion: These findings suggest good safety and tolerability for RTT-KaT among people seeking treatment for mental health issues. Most participants did not experience adverse reactions, and the recorded events involved transient symptoms resolved with rest and (or) medications.


  1. Hull TD, Malgaroli M, Gazzaley A, et al. At-home, sublingual ketamine telehealth is a safe and effective treatment for moderate to severe anxiety and depression: findings from a large, prospective, open-label effectiveness trial. J Affect Disord 2022;314:59–67.
  2. Krupitsky EM, Grinenko AY. Ketamine psychedelic therapy (KPT): a review of the results of ten years of research. J Psychoactive Drugs 1997;29:165–183.