Ketamine Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that has been safely used for providing anesthesia and analgesia for procedures and surgeries for children, adults, and animals for many years.  The World Health Organization has placed Ketamine on its List of Essential Medicines and is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Ketamine has recently shown to have beneficial effects in areas of mental health, pain, and other forms of stress. Please refer to the “Treatment” tab for further information regarding the different treatments and disorders that Ketamine can be used.

What conditions does Ketamine treat?

Current studies show Ketamine administration can have profound anti-depressant effects with patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder including Postpartum Depression.  In addition, Ketamine treatment has positive effects with other psychiatric disorders such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Suicidal Ideation.  Furthermore, Ketamine therapy can treat Fibromyalgia, migraines, and even certain pain syndromes.

How does Ketamine work?

Ketamine treatment helps repair and regulate areas in the brain and body responsible for transmitting and receiving certain neurotransmitters. Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor which can help with pain relief and mood stabilization, making it an ideal treatment option for patient’s suffering from mood disorders and chronic pain.

What are the success rates of Ketamine Infusions?

Approximately 70-75% of patients will have a positive response to Ketamine infusion therapy.

How long will the results last?

The results vary depending on the amount of infusions received. The effects of a single infusion last from a couple of days to approximately 1-2 weeks.  A series of 6 infusions over a 2-week period can last from weeks to months. Typically, when the effects begin to wear off, a single “booster” infusion can restore the effects.

What are the risks for Ketamine Infusions?

Ketamine is an extremely safe drug.  As physicians and anesthesia providers we administer Ketamine on a regular basis.

Are there any side effects?

There are not any documented long-term side effects with Ketamine infusions.  However, patients will most often feel tired after receiving the infusion. At times patients will experience a mild temporary headache and or nausea. If so, anti-nausea medication and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications or Tylenol will be given orally. These side effects only last for a few hours.

Are there any medical conditions that would prevent me from receiving Ketamine or current medications that would make the treatment ineffective?

Patients with severe cardiac history or pulmonary problems, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, uncontrolled high blood pressure, increased intracranial pressure, glaucoma, active psychotic hallucinations/delusions, substance abuse, current manic phase of bipolar disorder. MAOI medications are not compatible with Ketamine infusions and effectiveness of treatment may be decreased with benzodiazepines, opioid pain medications, and high doses of Lamictal.

How do I know if the Ketamine infusion worked?

Before your first treatment, you fill out a short depression and anxiety forms that serve as the baseline for treatment. We will follow up after each infusion and adjust the treatment accordingly.  Everyone is different and the onset of effects vary. It is possible to notice effects immediately after the treatment, 2-4 hours after treatment, or up to 24 hours after treatment. Typically effects are noticed in the 2-4 hour post-treatment period.

How long will the effects last?

Each patient and treatment regimen is different.  Some patients will experience long term relief after one series of infusion.  Ketamine infusion therapy is the only effective treatment for resistant symptoms.  For these patients, an individualized maintenance program will be implemented in which the patient will return for single booster infusions on an intermittent basis.

Why Ketamine over current treatments?

Typical antidepressants take weeks to months to work.  There are many of these types of drugs and the only reliable way to determine if it the medication is effective and well-tolerated is by trial and error.  Thus, a patient may wait weeks for the drug to work only to find out it does not. In addition, these medications have common side effects such as weight gain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal disturbances, and emotional blunting.  The side effects of Ketamine infusions are only during the infusion period. Even though Ketamine infusion is a new, effective treatment option, not all patients will respond to the treatment.

Are Ketamine Infusions addictive?

Current studies do not demonstrate the potential for addiction or abuse when administered in a controlled and monitored environment.