Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an FDA approved anesthetic drug that has been used safely and effectively as a general anesthetic since the 1960s. Ketamine has been used in children and adults with a remarkable safety record. Recently it has been discovered that ketamine can be used off-label for mood disorders and chronic, neuropathic pain conditions.
Is Ketamine safe?
Yes, ketamine is safe when administered in a controlled setting by appropriately trained physicians. Our physicians are board-certified anesthesiologists with a combined 30 years of experience and are also certified by the American Heart Association in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS).
How often do I need Ketamine treatments?
We use evidence-based protocols which currently recommend anywhere from 4 to 8 infusions for stabilization. Most IV ketamine therapy studies followed a treatment regimen of 6 infusions every 2 to 3 days over a two week period. During your evaluation, we will assess your needs and recommend an optimal regimen for you and maintenance options.
Am I going under anesthesia?
What will I experience?
We administer sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine. This means that you will be awake and functional and we are not putting you under anesthesia. During the infusion, most patients have a mild dissociative experience, with an increased sensitivity to light and sound and an altered perception of time and color. Most patients tolerate these experiences without discomfort and many people find them to be pleasant.
We provide a relaxed environment with as little disturbance as possible and non-pharmacologic measures to help minimize these symptoms further. If these symptoms bother you, we can make you more comfortable quickly with rapidly acting medications used to relieve or eliminate this discomfort. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly decrease and are mostly gone within 20-30 minutes. Ketamine infusions for mood disorders are 40 to 60 minutes. Pain infusions can last up to 4 hours or longer.
How is Ketamine different from other antidepressants??
Antidepressant therapy commonly focuses on monoamine neurotransmitters, most notably serotonin. Ketamine is different as it affects different neurotransmitters, receptors and is even thought to change the way brain cells communicate with one another--explaining its lasting effects long after it has been cleared from the body.
How does Ketamine work?
Ketamine works by blocking the NMDA receptor which plays a major role in chronic neuropathic pain conditions. The exact mechanism that causes ketamine to relieve depression is still under investigation, but more recent studies believe activity at AMPA receptors is involved as well.
Are results guaranteed and are there any side effects?
Like other treatments, results vary on an individual basis and results cannot be guaranteed. Studies show that on average 60-70% of patients obtained a 50% or greater reduction of symptoms lasting anywhere from several weeks to several months. Creating a treatment plan in collaboration with your referring provider can help augment and sustain results.
Does insurance cover Ketamine therapy?
Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not cover the off-label use of IV ketamine therapy. Some patients have success in obtaining partial reimbursement and we will gladly provide you with diagnosis codes should you wish to pursue it. In general, ketamine infusions for mood disorders cost between $500 to $800 or more depending upon the doctor and location. We are on the lower end to help make ketamine therapy affordable and we waive consultation fees as well--an additional $200 or more in savings.
Do I need a medical referral for Ketamine?
Referrals are preferred, but not required. We recommend pre and post treatment evaluations by a mental health professional if you have not been formally diagnosed.
This collaborative effort monitors your progress and ensures a successful treatment plan. Involving a mental health professional can prolong and augment your results.
Who is not a good candidate for IV Ketmaine therapy?
Patients who have a hypersensitivity to ketamine, a patient with a recent heart attack or stroke, history of psychosis or current substance abuse. Other contraindications apply. Call for details.
Are there restrictions that would prevent me from doing IV therapy?
For depression, we generally treat ages 15 years of age and older. Other conditions are generally 18 years of age and older, but case-by-case consideration may be given when working closely with the referring provider.
Who administers the infusion and can I have someone with me?
The infusions are administered and closely monitored by our board-certified anesthesiologists. You will be treated in a private suite designed to allow our anesthesiologists to discreetly monitor your vital signs and well being during the entire process. You are welcome to have someone sit with you during your treatment and recovery.