Ketamine is a FDA approved anesthetic agent originally developed in 1962. It has been used primarily as an induction agent for general anesthesia in surgery for children, adults, and animals. Ketamine has a remarkable safety track record, hence its use in the pediatric population. Recently, it has been discovered that ketamine can be highly effective in treating depression, PTSD, Fibromyalgia, and other conditions.
According to research studies, infusions of Ketamine to treat depression can be effective for 70% of individuals. Although the effects of Ketamine usually last for several weeks, some people can remain symptom free for months and beyond.
Most patients notice an improvement in their symptoms after their first or second ketamine infusion. Some experience dramatic results within hours of treatment.
No, any licensed mental health care professional or physician can refer you.
Ketamine’s mechanism of action is completely different from that of any other antidepressant medication. The exact mechanism of action that allows ketamine to relieve depression is complex and still under investigation. What we know is that it works on a neurotransmitter called Glutamate which leads to the production of an important growth factor that helps the brain repair damaged neurons affected by stress and mental illness. Thus, Ketamine, can improve mood within hours/days and also cause the regeneration of nerve cells over time.
We focus on using evidence-based research to administer and treat our patients with ketamine infusion therapy. Our primary focus is to help treat mental illness and provide an option to those who have not had success with traditional medicines or psychotherapy. Promising data has demonstrated robust effects in treating severe, chronic, treatment resistant depression. Thus, anyone diagnosed with major depression, bipolar depression, postpartum depression, or dysthymia could benefit from Ketamine infusions. Research has also shown that Ketamine can also be effective in treating Fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and suicidal ideation. In addition, ketamine shows promise in alleviating symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and a number of anxiety disorders.
Ketamine given by infusion or intramuscularly may cause:
-high blood pressure
-nausea and vomiting
-perceptual disturbances (time appearing to speed up or slow down; colors, textures, and noises that seem especially stimulating; blurry vision)
-dissociation (sometimes called out-of-body experiences); rarely, a person may feel as if they are looking down on their body, for example.
Additional information might be needed before treating patients with active substance use disorders, history of seizures, or individuals diagnosed with psychosis. If you have high blood pressure, cardiac, and/or pulmonary issues it may be necessary for your primary care physician to provide a medical clearance before beginning your ketamine infusions.
You can eat and drink regularly. Avoid overeating.
No. The dose of ketamine you will receive does not cause any loss of consciousness.
Ketamine is administered intravenously very slowly over 40-60 minutes. At the start of the infusion, you may not have noticeable effects, but as the infusion progresses, you may encounter a feeling of “lightness” or “floating,” which for some feels as a “weight being lifted off their shoulders”. Most patients describe mild dissociative symptoms that are generally well tolerated. You will be monitored throughout the infusion and we are prepared to treat any unpleasant side effects during the procedure. Within 15 minutes of completing the infusion, you will to start to regain your senses and your thinking will return to normal.
The effects of a single infusion typically last up to two weeks. After a series of six infusions, some people could remain symptom free for several months. We also offer the option of booster/maintenance infusions which can be given monthly or a few times per year as needed.
A total of six infusions is recommended within a 3-4 week period in order to maximize the effects of Ketamine. The repair and growth of new nerve cells over time is what can lead to long lasting improvements in symptoms. However, the total length of treatment depends on each individual’s unique circumstances.
We recommend that our patients continue working with their outpatient providers for medication management and/or psychotherapy. If you do not have a psychiatrist or therapist, Progressive Psychiatry can facilitate a referral.
No, ketamine has been proven safe in humans. It has been used for years as a surgical anesthetic in children and in trauma management. Although it has been abused recreationally at much higher doses as a club drug, there is no evidence that ketamine is addictive. In addition, Ketamine will be administered under medical supervision at sub-anesthetic doses.
Yes, ketamine infusions are an outpatient procedure requiring no hospital stay.
It is recommended that patients’ should not take benzodiazepines or any prescribed narcotics on the day of their infusion.
No, there is no need to stop any of the medications you are currently taking.