What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a drug that was first synthesized in 1962 for use as an anesthetic. It works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, this in turn, has been shown to cause what is termed as “dissociative anesthesia”. Dissociative anesthesia causes a distortion in the users perception of lights and sounds, and causes the illusion of being disconnected from oneself or the environment. It was deemed safe for anesthesia use in humans in 1970 by the FDA due to its high analgesic (pain relief) properties and its unique abilities to preserve respiratory and cardiac function. More recently, it has been discovered that low-dose ketamine infusions can rapidly help patients with severe, treatment-resistant mental health conditions and chronic pain conditions as a pain treatment.
How do I know if Ketamine Infusions are Right for Me?
Ketamine Infusions have been shown to help with a variety of conditions. Some of the conditions treated with Ketamine include: (Click the condition to learn more)
Many people across the globe suffer from depression, and it is considered to be among the largest causes for disability worldwide. In many instances, ketamine infusions have given relief in four out of five people in as little as one session. Ultimately, those who suffer from bouts of depression may find relief in the form of ketamine, particularly if other medications and antidepressants have not worked in the past.
Bipolar depression is accompanied by intense mania or euphoria followed by severe misery. Stabilizing moods to break the cycle of mania and depression is key to successful treatment. Ketamine infusions offer relief and improvement in symptoms faster than other treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation or electroconvulsive therapy, which often take weeks or months to reach their full effect. Patients have reported improvements after two weeks of repeated doses accompanied by psychotherapy.
Dealing with severe anxiety can be incredibly frustrating, and whether you see symptoms such as shortness of breath and chest pains or trembling, sweating, and dizziness, you may be looking for a solution. Because anxiety affects such a large population of people, it is important to find permanent changes that can provide relief. Additionally, prescription drugs can take quite some time to become effective, and often carry unwanted side effects and even addictive potential, while ketamine infusions may help to provide relief in as little as 2 or 3 treatments.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Almost eight percent of the population suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms often include flashbacks, intrusive memories, memory loss, and mood changes to name a few. Most standard treatments have been found largely ineffective. However, it has been reported that a single ketamine infusion for 40 or more minutes can cause a rapid decrease in PTSD symptoms. Patients often know after two or three treatments whether it’s an effective choice for them. If they show a positive response, patients can experience tremendous relief in a series of six treatments over the course of two to three weeks.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder OCD
Classified as an anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder plagues patients with recurring and unwanted thoughts that drive them to perform repeated actions. This can be debilitating and even life-threatening. Existing treatments which include antidepressants and cognitive behavior therapy are only helpful in around 50 percent of cases. Ketamine infusions can quickly alleviate symptoms of OCD in patients with constant intrusive thoughts. Exposure therapy after completing a course of ketamine treatments can restore healthy brain function and help the individual create healthier rituals to cope with everyday life.
Nearly 38 million people regularly experience migraines in the United States alone, and if you’re one of those people, you’re probably looking for some relief. Migraines can cause debilitating pain, along with other disruptive symptoms such as nausea and sensitivity to light and sounds. Patients who regularly experience migraines may have developed an intolerance to medicine, making ketamine infusions an ideal solution. It has been found that 75 percent of patients experience improvements in their migraine intensity after a series of ketamine treatments.
If you deal with suicidal thoughts, you deserve to get the help you need. Because suicide rates have increased by over 30 percent in the past two decades, more people are seeking answers. Recent studies have shown that ketamine treatment may reduce suicidal thoughts in 82 percent of those who receive serial ketamine infusions and even eliminate suicidal ideation in 68 percent of patients.
Fibromyalgia is a complex chronic disorder that often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. Symptoms can include fatigue, stiffness, headaches, sleep problems, and more. Current treatments are often medications such as Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, narcotics, antidepressants, and muscle relaxants. Ketamine treatment has been shown to be revolutionary for fibromyalgia, showing a significant reduction in pain intensity during and after the infusion treatment period.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Complex regional pain syndrome is a form of chronic pain that typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack and usually affects an arm or a leg. Symptoms can range from uncomfortable to crippling. However, ketamine treatments have been found to significantly reduce symptoms of CRPS and provide relief from joint stiffness, muscle spasms, throbbing or burning pain, and more. Patients usually experience relief in the first few treatments.
Depression suffered by a mother following childbirth, typically arising from the combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood, and fatigue, can be incredibly draining and in some cases even debilitating. Ketamine treatments have shown promise in treating postpartum depression where other treatments have failed to produce results.
Is Ketamine A Cure?
Ketamine is NOT a cure, but rather a very successful and fast acting treatment that has been shown to help 70-80% of people with treatment-resistant conditions find relief. This treatment has been shown to be especially effective when used in conjunction with other forms of therapy (ie: psychotherapy, counseling, meditation, journaling, self-reflection), therefore it is important that patients continue to see their primary mental health provider or pain provider while undergoing Ketamine infusion treatments.
How Many Infusions will I need?
Ketamine, when given in a single infusion, has been shown to provide short term relief of symptoms that lasts only a few hours to a few days. Current evidence has shown that a series of infusions over two weeks can produce lasting relief for a few weeks to a few months, at which time the patient simply needs to come in for a single booster infusion.
The standard protocol for mental health conditions is six 40 minute infusions given over a two to three week time period, while the protocol for a chronic pain condition includes a series of 2-4 hour infusions, given consecutively over three to five days. Following the initial series, the patient then comes in as needed for a booster infusion if symptoms return.
How Can I Expect To Feel During My Ketamine Infusion?
As described above, Ketamine is considered to be a “dissociative” anesthetic. Some people describe this feeling as like being in a very vivid dream. It is important that you come to your session being aware that this feeling is normal and expected, and that you are completely safe. Staff will be available to help reorient you and guide you through this experience ,and if necessary, can give you a medicine called Versed (Midazolam) to help calm you.
Many people report an increase in sensitivity to lights and sound, so you once the infusion has started the lights will be dimmed and you will be given noise cancelling headphones. These headphones can be connected to your phone via bluetooth prior to your session and you can listen to a music selection of your choice. We recommend familiar and calming music. You may want to make a playlist prior to coming.
Some people may experience nausea (upset stomach) or vomiting (throwing up) during the infusion. If you are prone to these symptoms or have experienced motion sickness in the past, please let your provider know and you will be given some anti-nausea medicine prior to or during your infusion.
How Should I Prepare for my Infusion?
As with any procedure where you are given an anesthetic agent, there are eating and drinking restrictions. These restrictions are required because of the high potential to have nausea or vomiting during or after your infusion. When you have an anesthetic it can impair your protective reflexes making you more likely to aspirate (get vomit in your lungs). This can be very serious and lead to pneumonia and hospitalization, so we take your eating and drinking status very seriously.
We ask that you stop eating for 6 hours prior and stop drinking 2 hours prior to your scheduled infusion. You can drink clear liquids such as water, clear soda, jello, or black coffee up to 2 hours prior to your infusion and we actually encourage you to drink a high carbohydrate clear liquid such as gatorade or coconut water 2-3 hours prior. You should have NOTHING in your mouth, including gum, candy or chewing tobacco for 2 hours prior to your infusion.
You may be asked to have your labs drawn prior to your infusions to check your liver function and electrolyte levels.
Please continue to take your regular scheduled medications on the morning of your infusion. You may be instructed to discontinue long acting benzodiazepines such as Klonipin (Clonazepam) and Valium (Diazepam) or Xanax (Alprazolam) as these can interfere with the effectiveness of the infusions.
We also ask that you mentally prepare for your infusions. The dissociation can be uncomfortable at first; being in a positive mindset has been shown to decrease the risk of having a negative experience.
The day before your infusion, limit your social media exposure and watch happy things on television. Avoid watching the news or any action packed or scary movies. Meditation and visualization prior to your infusions can also help you to be in the right mindset.
We ask that you wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your infusion and that you either wear short sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled above the elbows. Generally the infusion will run through an IV in your hand, but if we are not able to obtain access via your hand, we will use a vein in the crease of your elbow.
We encourage you to bring items from home that provide you comfort. If you forget or choose not to bring these items, most can be provided for you. Suggestions of what to bring include:
- Music Player or Cell Phone (keep ringer on silent) but can use for music.
- Eye Masks
- Sunglasses to wear after the infusions as you may be sensitive to light following your infusion.
- Soft Blanket
- A neck pillow or regular pillow
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
What should I expect when I show up for my first infusion?
On the day of your procedure, please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time so you have time to complete any required paperwork. Once all paperwork is completed, a staff member will take you to a private room. We ask that you use the bathroom at this time as you will not be able to once your infusion as started.
Once you get to your room, you can take your shoes off and get comfortable in our powered recliners with optional heat and massage. The nurse will put a blood pressure cuff on your arm or forearm, a pulse oximetry monitor on your finger to monitor your oxygen level and if you have a cardiac history, you may also have EKG patches to monitor your heart rhythm and rate.
You will have a few minutes to set up your music or visual preferences as we prepare your infusion. Once the infusion is prepared, an intravenous (IV) catheter will be placed in a vein in your hand or arm and the infusion will be started. If you are having the infusion for a mental health condition, the infusion will be set to run over 45 minutes, (2-4 hours for chronic pain conditions). You may choose to bring a family, friend or if you prefer, your psychotherapist/counselor. Emotional support animals are also allowed as long as they are properly trained, are quiet, and do not disturb or pose a risk to other staff members or patients.
A staff member will be checking on you throughout the infusion at regular intervals to monitor your vital signs and he/she may ask you some simple questions and assess your orientation and reassure you.
What Happens When The Infusion is Done?
When the infusion has ended, you will be monitored until such a time that your vital signs are stable, you are oriented, and stable on your feet. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour depending on how quickly you metabolize the medication.
When you first start moving you may feel a bit dizzy or lightheaded. This feeling will subside over the next 2-3 hours. You may not feel hungry after these infusions but we encourage you to drink a protein shake and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
You will need to have a responsible adult drive you home, alternatively you can use UBER/LYFT services. If using UBER or LYFT, a staff member will accompany you to the car.
How Much Do Ketamine Infusions Cost?
Costs can vary depending on the type of condition treated, infusion time and dose, and number of infusions needed. Unfortunately, although low-dose Ketamine Infusions have been proven to be a safe and effective treatment in many resistant conditions, it is still considered an off-label use and not covered by most insurance companies. We do require treatments to be paid in full at the time of service, however we would be happy to assist you with submitting a claim to your insurance company. If we receive reimbursement, we can take this amount off your next infusion, or refund you.
We also offer 0% Interest financing for 14 months through our partners at Advanced Care. Most people are approved instantly.
If you do not qualify for financing through Advanced Care, please provide us with the denial information and we will work with you to find a payment option that works for you.
WE ARE PROUD TO OFFER 15% OFF to all VETERANS and FIRST RESPONDERS.