Does ketamine infusion therapy require hospitalization?
No, ketamine infusion therapy is an outpatient procedure that is performed in the comfortable and private office setting of Dr. Anderson, a Neuragain specialist.
How many infusions will I need?
Nearly 70% of patients receiving ketamine treatment experience alleviation of symptoms. Most typically receive a total of six treatments over the course of 2 weeks, but the total number of infusions is determined by your response over time and can vary from person to person. After the initial round of 6 infusions, Dr. Anderson will tailor a maintenance plan designed especially for you, to monitor your symptoms over time and assess when or if you may need additional infusions.
How long will the effects last?
Relief can be relatively immediate, take a few hours, a few days, or happen after several infusions. While research studies suggest just 3-4 weeks duration of response, clinical practice suggests something more like 2-3 months as the baseline expectation. As ketamine is showing promising results that point to neurogenesis (regrowth of neurons) the treatment effects in some may continue to last. People most often report that dread, a feeling of hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide are the first symptoms to dissipate.
Can ketamine be used to treat depression?
Yes, ketamine is an alternative treatment to other depression medications.
Do I need to stop taking current medications for other issues or current antidepressant medications?
Ketamine does not interfere with any medications and you can continue taking your current antidepressant medications, according to your regular prescribing physician’s recommendations. Please do not make any changes to your regimen without first contacting your psychiatrist or prescriber.
Can I be excluded from therapy due to certain medical conditions?
Dr. Anderson will perform a thorough medical review of your history and your medications with you before your first infusion. Patients who are on high doses of benzodiazepines (including Klonopin/Valium/Ativan/Xanax), those who are on narcotic pain medication, or those who may be taking Lamictal in doses over 100mg/day will blunt or even negate the ketamine response. Other than what is listed, there are very few conditions that will exclude you from ketamine therapy.
Can I become addicted to ketamine through infusions?
No, ketamine has been used in hospitals and on battlefields as anesthesia at much higher levels than what you will receive in infusion therapy. There is no evidence that suggests ketamine is addictive, nor can you "get high" at the dosage you will be receiving, which is weight-based.
Are there long-term side effects of the infusion treatments?
Ketamine therapy from Neuragain results in no known long-term side effects, whereas most antidepressant and anxiolytic therapies can cause sexual dysfunction and weight gain, among other side effects. One other alternative to ketamine infusion therapy for treatment resistant depression and anxiety is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), but it requires several days of work loss, requires hospitalization oftentimes, is more expensive, and can cause short-term memory loss. Ketamine infusion therapy offers a much safer, less invasive approach for patients seeking to have fewer interruptions in their daily functioning, personal, and work lives.
Will insurance cover the cost of ketamine infusion therapy?
Because ketamine therapy is considered an "off-label" use for the treatment of depression and anxiety, insurance companies do not currently provide patient reimbursement.
Treatment Day FAQs:
What do I need to do to prepare for the infusions?
1) Send Neuragain your name, phone number, and email (see form on the HOME page) to get scheduled for infusions.
2) Click on the "Patient Forms" tab above to print out and complete the pre-infusion questionnaire so your first ketamine therapy infusion is a seamless experience. Dr. Anderson will call you the night before if you have questions or concerns, and the day of treatment she will meet with you to review your medications and history, and to assess if there are any contraindications to you receiving ketamine infusion therapy.
3) Avoid solid food 4 hours before your scheduled infusion time. You may have clear liquids up until 2 hours before the infusion.
4) Make sure you have someone available to drive you home after the infusion. They do not need to be present with you in the infusion suite, but they must be present in Dr. Anderson's office before you are ready to leave. You must not drive, operate heavy machinery, or make important decisions until the next morning after treatment.
How long do infusion sessions take?
Infusions typically take about 40 minutes, with an additional 15-30 minutes before the patient is ready to go home.
Will I be anesthetized?
No, the therapy does not require anesthesia or cause any loss of consciousness.
What will I experience during an infusion?
Patients typically experience mild dissociation, a feeling of floating, or inner reflective experiences. Lights may seem intensified momentarily, but these symptoms are generally well-tolerated, and may be an important correlation to the effectiveness of the medication. Unpleasant experiences can be treated and within 15 minutes of ending the infusion your thoughts will be clear. In some patients, a feeling of mild nausea or headache can occur, or a mild brief elevation in blood pressure, but these can be treated comfortably while you are in the office. In very rare cases, it is theorized that patients with a history of seizure disorder may be at increased risk for seizure. Please let Dr. Anderson know if you have a history of seizure disorder or traumatic brain injury.
If you’d like to know more, please view the following articles:
Ketamine For Severe Depression: 'How Do You Not Offer This Drug To People?'
Ketamine May Provide Lasting Relief From Depression
New Class of Antidepressants Shows Promise
Onetime Party Drug Hailed as Miracle for Treating Severe Depression
Club Drug Ketamine Gains Traction As A Treatment For Depression
Ketamine Found to have an "Unbelievable" Effect in Treating Severe Depression
The Undepressing News about Depression
TED Talk Discussing How Ketamine Treatment Could Act as a "Vaccine" for Depression and PTSD and Nothing Else Like it in the FDA Pipeline for Another 5-10 Years.