Frequently Asked Questions
Ketamine has been approved for the use as an anesthetic agent for decades and it has been used in hospitals to induce anesthesia ever since. Unlike many other anesthetics, Ketamine does not suppress breathing, nor does it lower patients’ blood pressure. It has gotten bad reputation because in LARGE doses it causes dissociative reaction (perception of being out of one’s body) in many people. However, the protocol for treating depression calls for doses much smaller than used for anesthesia, therefore, significantly reducing this unwanted side effect of Ketamine.
Psychiatric use of Ketamine is relatively recent (please see section on references). There is a growing number of scientific research papers indicating that patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc. benefit from Ketamine infusions. In such patients, Ketamine at a dose that is significantly lower than the anesthetic dose can produce a very positive response.
There are three principal advantages of Ketamine treatment:
- Safety. All treatments are administered under the direct supervision of a health care professional. Side effects and contraindications to Ketamine infusions are very few.
- Rapid response. Unlike medications currently used for the treatment of depression and other disorders listed above, patients’ response to Ketamine is very quick. People who benefit from the infusion treatment experience improvement as soon as within 24 hours. By the second or third session, treatment is definitive (compare that to several weeks it takes for the traditional medications to start working).
- Efficacy. On average, 2 out of 3 people (67%) will benefit from the Ketamine infusions. The success rate is reported as high as 70-80%, which is much better than the treatment with conventional antidepressants alone.
The short answer is no. However, there are two important caveats that should be mentioned here. First, since 1970, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ketamine for human use as an anesthetic medication. And second, a combination of Ketamine’s excellent safety record and the research behind its use in psychiatry warrants us to offer it as an off-label treatment that is safe and effective.
There are millions of people in the United States suffering from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and PTSD. They struggle every day to perform simple tasks and even to stay alive. These patients have an extremely low quality of life while conventional antidepressants do not give them the necessary relief. Ketamine treatment offers them hope.
We will start with the infusion regimen of 0.5 mg/kg administered over 40 minutes. The dose may be adjusted for the subsequent treatments. We suggest a total of 6 treatments. Every patient will be reassessed after two treatments to see if there is an improvement in the condition we are treating. The effects of Ketamine usually subside after 4-6 weeks and “booster” treatments may become necessary.
There are a few. If you are pregnant, or suffer from a seizure disorder (epilepsy), uncontrolled chronic conditions (especially high blood pressure), some arrhythmias, or taking MAO inhibitors (such as Phenelzine) Ketamine treatment should not be administered. There are several other conditions that will prevent you from being treated with Ketamine. These will be addressed during the screening process and personalized interview/assessment with the doctor. In addition, people who are taking benzodiazepines (Valium type medications) may need to discontinue them, if possible, in order for the treatment to be effective.
Ketamine addiction or dependence is extremely unlikely from the treatments we offer. It is true that some people use Ketamine illicitly for recreational purposes. It goes by various names such as: special K, vitamin K, or Kit Kat. Pharmacologically it is related to other drugs of abuse such as PCP (also known as “angel dust”). However, so far no evidence exists that low dose Ketamine infusion treatment causes addiction.
At this time, we do not offer any refunds or discounts.
Thank you so much – not only for helping me finally feel like a person again, but always treating me with empathy, care, and respect.
I had my first ketamine therapy session last week, and it was amazing – it simply turned the darker elements of the depression off like a light switch.