Will IV Ketamine Help My Depression?
This is the one of the most common ketamine treatment FAQs!
Based on research at major medical centers over the past 15 years, and our own extensive experience, up to 80% of all patients, including patients with treatment-resistant depression, can expect significant and fast relief. Of course, we can’t predict your individual results but we offer genetic testing to help determine whether you’re likely to respond to IV ketamine.
Why IV? Read this.
Our treatment is tailored in terms of frequency and dosage to each person, and we believe it offers you your best chance of success.
Please read through the rest of our Ketamine FAQs, and of course, call us if you have questions we haven’t answered here.
How Many Ketamine Infusions Do I Need?
That depends on your response to the first treatment or two. Most patients receive a series of six infusions, and within that series of 6 there is a bimodal response pattern — that means that some patients respond dramatically after just 1-2 infusions, and others really turn around between their 4th and 6th treatment.
Some patients are almost, but not quite, in remission after their 6th treatment, and schedule an additional treatment or two.
We work with you to customize your treatment for the best possible outcome.
Are There Any Long Term Side Effects from IV Ketamine Treatment?
Standard antidepressants and mood stabilizers often produce side effects such as weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances and fatigue.
However, low dose IV ketamine treatment results in no known long-term side effects.
What Medical Conditions Could Keep Me from Receiving Ketamine?
There are very few. We will discuss any possible contraindications that you may have when we meet with you.
Do I Need to be Referred by a Psychiatrist?
You or your family may call for an appointment, and your psychiatrist, therapist, PCP or APRN may call to refer you.
We’ll work with you to obtain as much information as possible before your first visit. If you are seeing a psychiatrist, APRN, or therapist, please ask them to call us before we see you and send us a copy of their most recent office note.
It’s important that we coordinate your treatment with your healthcare team — your current psychiatrist, therapist and PCP or OB-GYN, and any other specialists you choose to coordinate your care for an optimal response.
We offer IV ketamine infusions as an adjunct to your current treatment and we work as a consultation and specialty service for you and your doctors or APRNs, returning you to their care once your complete your treatment with us.
I Have Bipolar Disorder. Will Ketamine Make Me Hypomanic?
Hypomania has not been reported following ketamine therapy. We have extensive experience using ketamine in patients with bipolar I and bipolar II disorder including bipolar disorder in teens and have written dozens of blog posts on this topic.
If Ketamine Treatment Works for Me, How Soon Will I Begin to Feel Better?
Some patients will begin to feel better within hours of the first infusion. Patients with thoughts of self-harm often notice those thoughts dissipating first. There can be a dramatic relief of dread and hopelessness. Other patients may not notice any mood improvement until the next day. Some patients will require a second (or even a third) infusion before feeling better.
We monitor your progress carefully and adjust your dose and infusion schedule for your maximum benefit.
Will My Current Psychiatric Medications Interfere with IV Ketamine Treatment?
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs and atypicals) and most mood stabilizers do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them.
If you take a high dose of a benzodiazepine (particularly clonazepam, but also alprazolam or lorazepam) you will have a reduced response to ketamine — but taking these medications doesn’t mean that ketamine cannot help you.
Lamictal in doses over 100 mg/day will blunt your response to ketamine. You should not decrease or stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your psychiatrist or prescribing physician, and we will work with him or her before your first appointment, so that you’re optimally ready to respond to treatment.
Will My Insurance Company Pay for Ketamine Infusions?
No. IV Ketamine treatment for mood and anxiety disorders is a new treatment using ketamine off-label, so insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.
However, we provide a statement with all of the proper codes so that you may submit it for reimbursement if you have an HSA. We offer financing if you need that.
Are Ketamine Infusions Addictive?
Treatment Day Questions
Can I Eat or Drink Before My Appointment?
You cannot eat for 4 hours before your appointment, but you may drink freely up until your appointment. It’s important not to arrive dehydrated.
Do I Need to Bring Someone With Me?
You don’t need to have someone in the room with you during your infusion, but you’re welcome to have a family member or friend sit in with you during your treatment.
We require that you have someone drive you home after your treatment. We advise you not to drive a car or make important decisions until the following morning.
What Should I Expect During the Infusion?
Ketamine is administered over a period of about 40 minutes. The dose is determined by your weight. The amount of ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you’ll remain awake but feel very, very relaxed.
During the infusion, some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors or textures. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative,” or “out of body” experience. These are “side effects” of ketamine that we consider important — they’re important for ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most of our patients tolerate their ketamine infusions beautifully, and many people find them pleasant. (Some say that they’ve never felt more relaxed in their lives!) Even for the same person, each infusion is a different experience.
Once the infusion ends, ketamine washes out of your system quickly with no delayed “flashbacks” of treatment experiences. But the biological changes that ketamine kick-started keep going. Read a short bullet-list about them here.
Our patients generally leave our office within 15-20 minutes following their infusion and feel quite normal.
Are There Other Side Effects that I Could Experience During or After My Ketamine Infusion?
Most patients are slightly light-headed for about 10 minutes after the infusions ends, and then this lifts.
Occasionally patients experience some nausea during or following an infusion. If so, we have medication that will help. More rarely, a patient may experience a transient headache or fatigue.
Very, very rarely patients already at risk for seizure have reportedly experienced one, although this has never occurred in our practice. If you have a seizure disorder, please be sure to share that information with us prior to your treatment.
What Happens After My Series of Ketamine Infusions?
Following the initial series of infusions, some patients will work with us to begin a maintenance program, returning for single infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient.