What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a SAFE FDA-approved powerful anesthetic that was developed more than 50 years ago. It has been used widely as an anesthetic in emergency medicine,operating rooms and wound clinics around the world on a daily basis. It is often used for the most fragile patients, including children and the elderly, because of its safe profile. Since 2000 ketamine has been found to be a valuable and highly effective treatment for depression, anxiety, various mood disorders, and certain pain disorders. It works at the receptor level to stimulate and preserve neurons which is key to reducing symptoms associated with mood disorders, PTSD, and chronic pain.
Is Ketamine right for me?
While esketamine is only FDA approved for Treatment Resistant Depression and Major Depression with Suicidal Ideations many providers use Ketamine off-label to treat Anxiety, Depression, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar Depression, Substance Use Disorders, and Eating disorders. There are also many case studies of Ketamine treatment being helpful during times of acute stress including bereavement, loss, or existential crises.
What happens during an IV infusion for Mood Disorders?
You will be seated in a comfortable recliner during your treatment. Our staff will place monitors so that we can track your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels and in some cases EKG during your treatment.
A small intravenous catheter will be placed into a vein, after which ketamine will slowly be infused into the vein over approximately 40 minutes by a precise mechanical pump. Your provider will monitor your response to the treatment. You will remain awake during the infusion. Most patients report a relaxing and peaceful experience.
Patients will also notice changes in their vision and/or a feeling of “lightheadedness” or “floating.” Many also report feeling somewhat disconnected and having slower thoughts. Typical recovery times last from 20-30 minutes after the completion of your infusion. Most people can expect to be at the office for a total of 90 minutes. You will need a trusted friend or family member to drive you home after your infusion.
What are the side effects of Ketamine Infusions?
Patients commonly feel tired and report “cloudy thinking” for a few hours following an infusion. Occasionally, it may also cause nausea and vomiting, or a transient increase in blood pressure and heart rate. We will screen for any changes in bladder habits during each infusion, ketamine can be toxic to the endothelial lining of the bladder.
What conditions disqualify me?
Ketamine is a very safe drug when given by a qualified anesthesia provider, however there are conditions that may disqualify you for IV ketamine therapy.
Unstable heart disease or congestive heart failure
Untreated hyper thyroid disease
Brain tumor or acute brain injury
Severe liver disease
Pregnancy or breast-feeding space
Active psychotic symptoms.
How soon will I see results?
Many patients experience improvement within 2-4 hours. In some patients it may take up to 24-48 hours.
How many infusions will I need?
The initial series of infusions consists of six ketamine infusions over a 2-3 week period. Many patients will notice a change in their symptoms after 1-2 treatments, however, some patients will not experience a benefit until later on in the initial series of treatments. While the effects of ketamine treatments can be life-changing, ketamine is not a cure-all for mood disorders. You will likely need maintenance treatments in order to maintain treatment effects. Your ketamine provider will discuss a recommended maintenance infusion schedule for you, based on your response. On average, patients return every 4-6 weeks for maintenance or “booster” infusions. Our goal is to decrease maintenance treatments as much as possible by coupling the Ketamine experience with sensory inputs and therapy.
Will my insurance pay for ketamine infusions?
Insurance does not currently cover the cost for ketamine therapy, therefore all appointments are self pay and due at the time of infusion. Although it’s not covered by insurance, ketamine infusions can be paid using both HSA and FSA accounts.