Questions About Ketamine Therapy
Will IV ketamine help my treatment resistant depression?
Based on research at major medical centers over the past 15 years, and in our own experience, up to 75% of all patients can expect significant and fast relief. Of course, we cannot predict any individual’s results but we offer genetic testing to determine whether you are likely to respond to IV ketamine. Our treatment is tailored in terms of frequency and dosage to each person, and we believe it offers your best chance of success.
How many ketamine infusions will I receive?
That will depend on your response. Most responsive patients receive a series of six infusions but many patients need an addition 2-3 infusions. We will work with you to customize your treatment plan for the best possible outcome. Some patients return for ongoing infusions on a regular or as-needed basis depending on their symptoms.
Are there any long term side effects with ketamine therapy?
Traditional medications often produce unwanted side effects such as sexual dysfunction and weight gain that can last for months even after a medication is discontinued. 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 contraindications with you before you receive your first infusion.
Do I need to be referred by a psychiatrist?
No, you or your family may call for an appointment.
Your psychiatrist, therapist, PCP, APRN, or another medical specialist may also contact us to refer you to us for treatment. We will work with you and with your doctors to obtain as much information as possible about you before your first visit, especially if you call us yourself, because 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. Many physicians are not yet with the use and the tremendous response to IV ketamine–and we’re happy to share our knowledge with them and help you in your quest to feel better.
We offer IV ketamine infusions as an adjunct to your current psychiatric treatment, and we work as a consultation and specialty service for you and your doctors, returning you to their ongoing care once your complete your treatment with us.
Will I require ketamine infusions for the rest of my life?
Probably not. Some patients achieve long-term relief after a series of infusions.
I have bipolar disorder. Will ketamine make me hypomanic?
Hypomania has not been reported following ketamine therapy.
Where is the treatment performed?
All of your IV ketamine infusions are administered on an outpatient basis in our beautiful, relaxing office using state of the art technology and monitoring.
If ketamine therapy 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 will monitor your progress carefully and adjust your dose and infusion schedule for your maximum benefit.
Will my current psychiatric medications interfere with ketamine therapy?
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, MAOIs and atypicals) do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. If you take a high dose of a benzodiazepine (alprazolam, clonazepam, or lorazepam) you will have a reduced response to ketamine, but taking these medications does not mean that ketamine cannot help you. Lamictal in doses over 100 mg/day will blunt the ketamine response. 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.
Are ketamine infusions addictive?
Treatment Day Questions
Do I need to bring someone with me?
You don’t need to have someone in the room with you during your infusion, but we do require that someone drive you home. We advise you not to drive a car or make important decisions until the following morning.
Are there other side effects that I could experience during or after my therapy?
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. 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 treatement.
Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
You cannot eat for 4 hours before your appointment, but you may have clear liquids. It’s important not to be dehydrated.
What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?
Following the initial series of infusions, most 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.
Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?
No. IV Ketamine treatment for mood and anxiety disorders is a new treatment using ketamine off-label, so insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.
What should I expect during ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is administered over a period of 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 will remain awake. During the infusion, some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative,” or “out of body” experience. These are side effects of ketamine that may be important for ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly dissipate. There are no delayed “flashbacks,” and patients generally leave the office within 30 minutes following the infusion and feel quite normal.