At-Home Ketamine Therapy: Breakthrough or Breakdown?

It’s time for a pause.

While I was running Nue Life Health, a mental wellness company that leveraged at-home ketamine therapy, I was keenly aware of the risks associated with ketamine therapy. I spent much of my tenure developing tools to mitigate these risks.

Since departing from Nue Life, I’ve observed a concerning industry shift toward prioritizing profits over patient safety. The recent tragic death of actor Matthew Perry highlights that time is of the essence.

As I have stated in the past, I have taken a principled stance. I am advocating for a temporary pause in at-home ketamine therapy until the industry can develop clear guidelines to ensure patient safety and provide the necessary integration and follow-up care.

The Imperative for Safety and Ethics

The transition from being a pioneer in the at-home ketamine space to scrutinizing the industry’s current practices stems from witnessing how the economic pressures facing many at-home ketamine providers may be affecting the standard of care offered to patients.

Juan Pablo Cappello, co-founder and managing partner, PAG Law PLLC and former CEO of Nue Life Health

The recent FDA warnings regarding the use of compounded ketamine underscore these concerns, highlighting the lack of standardized dosing and the potential for misuse.

My experiences at Nue Life taught me the importance of putting patient safety first, a principle that seems to be fading as the industry scales. This prioritization of profit over well-being contradicts the very ethos of health care, compelling me to call for a reevaluation of how at-home ketamine therapy is administered.

A Call for Comprehensive Guidelines

Currently at-home ketamine therapy is fraught with regulatory ambiguities and safety concerns. A pause is not a call for cessation but a plea for reflection, standardization, and improvement. Clear, comprehensive guidelines are needed to address patient evaluation, treatment administration, and after-care. This pause would provide the necessary space for the industry to align its practices with these guidelines, ensuring that patient welfare remains at the center of ketamine therapy.

Reflecting on the Path Forward

 My shift from advocate to critic of at-home ketamine therapy mirrors the broader, necessary introspection within the psychedelic medicine field.’

The recent regulatory scrutiny, coupled with gut-wrenching incidents like Perry’s death, highlights the urgency for setting industry-wide standards that prioritize patient safety above all. As we consider the therapeutic promise of substances like MDMA and psilocybin, let the lessons from ketamine’s integration into mental health care guide us toward a more responsible and ethical practice.

We have to acknowledge and accept that the “profit” motive will creep into the therapeutic model for MDMA and psilocybin. This could be a pivotal moment for the psychedelics industry to come together to set standards that prioritize patient safety above all.

Engaging in Open Dialogue

The evolution of my stance is a testament to the complex nature of mental health innovations. By addressing criticisms and engaging in an open dialogue, informed partly by the recent FDA warnings and the tragic outcomes seen in unsupervised settings, we can identify the most ethical and effective pathways forward. Balancing innovation with responsibility is paramount to ensuring that new treatments enhance patient well-being without compromise.

Toward Ethical Innovation

As we advocate for a pause in at-home ketamine therapy, it’s crucial to explore and advocate for alternative mental-health treatments that emphasize safety, effectiveness and ethical considerations. The mental-health crisis demands innovative solutions, but these innovations must not come at the expense of patient care.

By committing to ethical practices and patient-centered care, we can advance mental-health treatment in a manner that truly benefits those in need.

The call for a temporary pause in at-home ketamine therapy reflects a commitment to patient safety, ethical integrity and the responsible advancement of psychedelic medicine.

As the industry evolves, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that our pursuit of new treatments remains grounded in the principles of care and respect for patient welfare. Together, we can navigate the challenges of psychedelic medicine with caution and conscience, ensuring a future where innovation and ethical practice are inextricably linked.

The author Juan Pablo Cappello is a co-founder and  managing partner at Miami-based law firm PAG Law and the former CEO of Nue Life Health.  He is not affiliated with the successor of Nue Life Health who operates The opinions expressed herein are solely Cappello’s and are focused on the at-home ketamine industry and not any one provider in particular.