What conditions does Ketamine treat?
Ketamine infusions may help patients with treatment-resistant severe depression, bi-polar depression, PTSD, and major depressive disorder. Ketamine infusions may also help some patients with Reﬂex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), now called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). It should be noted that ketamine infusion therapy does not guarantee success with your depression or CRPS/RSD. However, thousands of patients treated with ketamine have shown signiﬁcant improvement in their symptoms. The highest chances for successful treatment begins with a proper diagnosis.
Is Ketamine addictive?
Addiction has not been described in ketamine infusion therapy given the dose used, treatment schedule, supervised medical setting, and lack of withdrawal symptoms. Ketamine has a proven track record of being an FDA-approved anesthetic medication since the mid 1960’s.
Will ketamine treatment affect my current medications?
Chronic use of or dependence on benzodiazepines may be detrimental to ketamine therapy. You must be completely off of any benzodiazepine for a period of 14 days before starting ketamine. We will provide a urine drug screen to ensure all metabolites are out of your bloodstream.
What medical conditions will exclude me from ketamine treatment?
Any medical condition that is not well managed may preclude you from treatment. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or any serious cardiac or respiratory conditions need to be disclosed to avoid complications. Dr. Oliver will review all your conditions and medications with you when he goes over your patient health questionnaire.
What are the side effects of ketamine?
Some patients have reported mild dissociative symptoms during their infusions, which are short-lived. While not unpleasant usually, some effects of ﬂoating, blurry visual changes, and dizziness can occur. These effects can be treated with other medications to make your infusion be a relaxing experience and not daunting.
Why aren’t other doctors performing this treatment?
While Ketamine is used daily in Emergency Departments and Operating Rooms both in the United States and around the world safely, the medication carries a stigma about it due to its history as a “party drug.” Additionally, administering this medication requires a set of skills with emergency airway, cardiac, and vascular management, which is possessed by physicians who work in a hospital based setting.
Is the nasal application of Ketamine just as effective?
Unfortunately, studies have not found the nasal Ketamine sprays to be nearly as effective as the intravenous administration. When one takes a nasal spray, they get 30-50% of the effective dose of the medication administered, whereas more than 95% arrives where needed when we give the medication through an IV.
How does Ketamine work?
The mechanism of Ketamine is complicated because if affects many different receptors in the brain. The best scientific understanding is that it works at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)
receptor in the brain in an area called the lateral habenula, which is responsible for the process of emotions. Ketamine and its metabolites also have an affinity for narcotic receptors all over the brain, which may be contributing to the effects of it as an analgesic, which is a medication for pain.
How will I know if the treatment is working?
During the Consultation visit, we start by establishing a mood or pain baseline with digital mood monitoring, and ask you to fill out a brief survey called a Patient Health Questionnaire – 9, which was developed at Columbia University. We then measure the progress using this tool and define success as 50% improvement in mood based on this scale.
Often, close friends, loved ones and even coworkers might notice subtle improvements in mood prior to the patient’s awareness that the Ketamine infusions are beginning to work.
Finally, we communicate with the physicians, as well as any other mental health providers, who give us an independent subjective verification of the success of the treatment.
Do I need to finish all 6 infusions in the initial series if I start to feel better?
At the Mind Peace Clinics, we base our practice on the latest published articles and the work that is being done at the National Institutes of Mental Health. We strongly encourage all of our patients to complete the initial series of infusions to ensure the greatest chance of success and longevity of symptom remission.
How does Ketamine compare to other treatment options?
Many first line treatment options are medications in pill form and take between several weeks to a few months to determine if they are affecting a patient’s mood and may initially depress your mood for the first few weeks. Additionally, many of these medications have side effects that include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, interruptions in sleeping patterns and blunting of emotions. Additionally, some other medications that may be “added” onto other medications may cause diabetes.
Other options may include:
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) Therapy, which uses magnets outside of your head and attempts to stimulate the brain cells to improve your mood. The exact mechanism of action isn’t well understood. This course of treatment isn’t invasive, but requires treatment five days a week for up to six weeks. Each session lasts approximately 20-40 minutes per treatment.
- Electro Convulsive Therapy (ECT) works by putting you to sleep and inducing a seizure in your brain. You are sedated using medications, so that your body does not shake. Many individuals who undergo an initial series of ECT have depression relapse, and require additional sessions. The mechanism of ECT is not well understood, but one of the major side effects can be permanent memory loss.
Will my insurance cover this?
This treatment is recommended by the American Psychiatric Association’s Consensus Statement that was published in 2017 to be tried by patients who have failed other treatments. Based on this statement, and a growing number of studies that have replicated the tremendous success, more insurance companies are starting to reimburse some if not all of the costs associated with this treatment.
That being said, not all insurance companies are so progressive, so please check with your insurance company to see what percentage they might reimburse you for this treatment. We have opted out of the Medicare and Medicaid system and do not participate in any insurance plans. We do not guarantee any outside reimbursement for the services we provide.
We are happy to assist you with the documentation that you will need to provide to your insurance company to obtain reimbursement, and provide a “super bill” that details all costs associated with the services we provide.
What are the success rates?
The published rates of success vary from 62% to 85%. In our practice, we have seen success of approximately 75%, or three of four patients who complete all six Ketamine infusions. The overwhelming majority of these patients continue to have remission of their symptoms with “Booster Infusions” provided on an as needed basis.
Will I continue my relationships with my Psychiatrist, Primary Care Physician and other mental health providers?
We act as consultants for your Psychiatrist and Mental Health Providers, very similar in relationship as a Radiation Oncologist will act to a Medical Oncologist. We ensure that the Ketamine infusions are provided in a relaxing and safe environment with experienced critical care and emergency Registered Nurses and a board-certified physician.
Additionally, we request that you continue your relationship with your primary care provider. Our physicians will communicate with them directly to coordinate care that is medical in nature after providing the initial care for any non-infusion related issues.