Will I be treated as an outpatient?
Do I need a psychiatrists referral for treatment?
Is ketamine used to treat all patients with depression?
Is it likely that my severe depression will respond to ketamine infusion therapy?
How many infusions will I need and how long will I feel better?
If ketamine does work, will I be on it for the rest of my life?
How long does an infusion take?
Will I be asleep?
What will I experience during the infusion?
Are there any medications that will interfere with ketamine treatment?
Will I be required to stop all other antidepressant medications that I am taking?
Are there any medical conditions that will preclude treatment?
Should I be concerned about any risks or addiction with ketamine therapy?
How quickly can I be seen?
What is the cost?
Yes, ketamine infusions for depression are outpatient procedures requiring no hospital admission.
No, any licensed mental health care professional can refer you.
No, mild to moderate depression is successfully treated by mental health professionals with drugs and psychotherapy. The treatment of severe depression is more difficult and requires a higher level of care, such as ECT, TMS, and now ketamine therapy. Ketamine infusion therapy is reserved for those patients with severe depression that is considered otherwise treatment resistant.
The patients we see are all considered treatment resistant. That is, they have not responded to available antidepressant medications and in many cases have not responded to ECT or TMS. We cannot predict who will respond to ketamine, but statistically 2 out of 3 patients do show a dramatic improvement in their mood and 3 out of 4 will cease to have suicide ideation. We will know within two treatments if ketamine infusions will help you.
If you have a favorable response to the first two infusions, a total of six is recommended within a twelve day period. That will maximize the ketamine effect on new dendrite and synapse growth. Thereafter, patients are placed a maintenance program where they return when they feel it necessary for a single infusion booster. During the maintenance period, the duration of relief following the initial infusions and the first booster, and between subsequent single booster infusions varies between patients. The average duration of relief between booster infusions is 3 to 4 weeks. There is no way to predict what your needs will be.
No, right now ketamine infusion therapy is, perhaps, the most exciting and successful new treatment for severe depression. But, there are large pharmaceutical companies developing ketamine like drugs for more convenient nasal and oral administration. It may be a few years, but those drugs will become available. In the meantime, ketamine has been proven effective in most cases, and is available to you or your loved ones. Patients with debilitating severe depression with constant thoughts of self harm can not afford to wait.
About an hour, with an additional half hour before discharge.
No. The dose of ketamine you will receive does not cause any loss of consciousness.
Most patients experience a mild dissociation or inner reflective experience that is generally well tolerated. If you find it unpleasant we can treat it. Within 15 minutes of ending the infusion your thinking will be clear. There are no delayed “flashbacks.”
No, there is no need to stop any medications you are taking.
Almost none. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart failure need to be corrected.
No, ketamine has been proven safe in humans over five decades in and out of hosptials and battle fields for surgical anesthesia and trauma management. Those patients experience longer exposures and at much higher doses than those used to treat severe depression. Although it has been abused recreationally in high doses as a club drug, there is no evidence that ketamine is addictive.
Generally within a day or two of your call. At the urgent request of a mental health care provider, we can see you that same day.
The cost of each infusion is $525. We do not accept any insurance plans or Medicare, but will provide you with health insurance claim forms for you to submit for reimbursement. The amount reimbursed by insurance companies varies.