Ketamine is a FDA approved anesthetic agent originally developed in 1962. It is one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine and has primarily been used as an induction agent for general anesthesia in surgery for children, adults, and animals. Ketamine has a remarkably safe track record in surgical settings, and is often used in pediatric surgery. Recently, it has been discovered that ketamine can be highly effective in treating depression, PTSD, bipolar, and other conditions.
According to research studies, infusions of Ketamine to treat depression can be effective for 60-80 % of individuals. These results are astonishing, and its discovery has profoundly changed depression research, and our understanding of the nature of depression. Although the effects of Ketamine usually last for several weeks, some people can remain depression free for months.
No, any licensed mental health care professional or physician can refer you.
Ketamine’s mechanism of action is completely different from that of any other antidepressant medication. The exact mechanism of action that allows ketamine to relieve depression is complex and still under investigation.
What we know is that it works on a neurotransmitter called Glutamate which leads to the production of an important growth factor that helps the brain repair damaged neurons affected by stress and mental illness. Ketamine can improve mood as quickly as hours or within days and also cause the regeneration of nerve cells over time.
When ketamine is administered in a controlled medical setting by a properly trained physician using established methods, it is very safe. Ketamine is the only anesthetic that does not suppress the body's cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It does have the potential to elevate heart rate and blood pressure, so the patient's vitals must be monitored during treatment.
Ketamine infusion therapy is not suggested for patients with active substance use disorders, history of seizures, or individuals diagnosed with psychosis. If you have high blood pressure, cardiac, and/or pulmonary issues it may be necessary for your primary care physician to provide a medical clearance before beginning your ketamine infusions.
The Ketamine infusion process is administered slowly intravenously over 45 minutes. At the start of the infusion, you may not have noticeable effects, but as the infusion progresses, some experience a feeling of “lightness” or “floating,” which for some feels as a “weight being lifted off their shoulders”. Most patients describe mild dissociative symptoms that are generally well tolerated. We will monitor you throughout the infusion and we are prepared to treat any unpleasant side effects during the procedure. Within 15 minutes of completing the infusion, you will to start to regain your senses and your thinking will return to normal.
Prior to your first treatment, we will ask you to fill out a few brief questionnaires that will provide a baseline. We will then follow up after each infusion to determine response. If needed we can adjust the treatment accordingly to maximize benefits and minimize any adverse effects. After the Ketamine infusion, some have noticed positive effects as soon as 30 minutes post infusion but typically improvements begin several hours posttreatment.
No, ketamine has been proven safe in humans. It has been used for years as a surgical anesthetic in children and in trauma management. Although it has been abused recreationally at much higher doses as a club drug, there is no evidence that ketamine is addictive. In addition, Ketamine will be administered under medical supervision at subanesthetic doses.