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what are ketamine iv infusions?

Ketamine Infusion Specialist

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IV Ketamine Treatment

Ketamine Infusion Therapy Studies and Research

An abundance of recent data suggests that ketamine, given intravenously, is among the most important breakthroughs in antidepressant treatment in decades. Numerous studies demonstrate that ketamine reduces depression within hours, with effects that are equal to or greater than the effects of 6 weeks of treatment with other antidepressant medications.

The majority of studies to date have tested ketamine in people with whom other treatments were simply not effective, including both medications and psychotherapy. This promises a new option for people with some of the most disabling and chronic forms of depression, whether classified as major depressive disorder or bipolar depression.

It appears that one of the earliest effects of the drug is a profound reduction in suicidal thoughts. It is too early to label ketamine as an anti-suicide medication, but the reduction in suicidal thoughts even prior to the antidepressant effect is promising, especially given the risk of suicide in people with TRD.

Ketamine – How It Works

When ketamine is delivered by a slow infusion, at a low dose, it interacts with receptors and neurotransmitters in the brain to cause anti-depressant effects. Often seen immediately, this treatment is effective in patients suffering from difficult to treat mood disorders including treatment resistant depression.

Ketamine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist. Ketamine is very different from a traditional antidepressant medication. While most antidepressants work on the neurotransmitters serotonin or norepinephrine, Ketamine focuses on a different neurotransmitter called glutamate. Ketamine blocks the receptors critical for receiving glutamate’s signals, which improves the brain’s electrical flow, resulting in reduced depression. Ketamine can also result in a state of dissociative anesthesia, making one feel a generalized sense of well-being.

A Brief History of Ketamine

Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been used on both humans and animals for over 52 years. Unlike other anesthetics, it doesn’t depress patients’ breathing or circulatory systems and it is very fast-acting.

How Is Ketamine Used

Because of its effectiveness and safety when delivered appropriately, it is being used more in the following ways: treating depression and other mood disorders and pain conditions including Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS/RSD). Leading institutions such as Yale University, The National Institute of Mental Health, and Massachusetts General Hospital have completed research that demonstrates the efficacy and safety of ketamine infusion treatments for these conditions.

Ideal Candidates for IV Ketamine Treatment

  • Diagnosis of – major depression, refractory depression, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar disorder, and/or chronic pain, and be resistant to other treatments, such as medications.

  • Have no history of difficult IV insertions.

  • No uncontrolled-medical conditions – such uncontrolled blood pressure, unstable heart disease, untreated thyroid disease, active substance abuse, current manic phase of bipolar disorder, or active psychotic (hallucinations or delusions) symptoms.

  • Patients 18 years or older

  • Under the care of a current mental health provider

What to expect from the treatments?

The medicine is given very slowly over 40 minutes. The first 15-20 minutes are uneventful with no noticeable effects. At around the 20 minute mark, people tend to notice some blurring of vision or double vision, a feeling of “lightness”, “floating”, or intoxication, and sometimes some numbness in the toes or area around the mouth. Over the course of this 20 minute period, these feelings tend to build, so that the medicine is at the peak of its intensity at the very end. Other common feelings include euphoria, talkativeness, a feeling of being “disconnected” or in a dream, heightened perceptions (background noise may seem louder, colors or lights are more intense), and a feeling that people often describe as “weird, odd, different, or interesting.” Most people can expect to be with us for about 90 minutes from the time you walk in the door to when you leave, with no side effects at that point and none between treatments.

Ketamine FAQ

Does insurance cover this?

Most insurance companies are still not covering the cost of the treatments, however, we recommend that patients contact their insurance company and discuss the possibility of coverage for Ketamine treatments. Our billing staff can work with you to provide the appropriate codes as needed. Individual insurance careers can vary in their coverage of Ketamine.

How is the infusion experience?

We check common baseline vital signs, such as your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and your weight. The intravenous (IV) itself takes about 45-60 minutes. During this time we keep the environment private, quiet, and relaxing. We also monitor you throughout the infusion and offer comforting music.

How Long Before it works?

Often, patients report an improvement in mood and general well-being after the first treatment. Most patients experience a more gradual outcome that occurs over the course of the treatments. We base our treatments on the latest research studies that recommend a series of 6 treatments. Typically after the sixth treatment, patients feel an overall better sense of well-being, which can include change in mood, and improvement in daily functionality.

Is Ketamine addictive?

Some may have heard that ketamine is used as a “party drug” and worry about addiction potential. Studies and clinical experience have shown that in very low doses used, like those used in this treatment, medical setting, lack of access at home, and infrequent dosing, there is virtually no potential for addiction or abuse.

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