Ketamine Infusions for Depression
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Ketamine Infusion Therapy FAQ

What is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Ketamine is an anesthesia developed in the early 1960s.  It is one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine and is listed as an essential medicine by the World Health Organization.  It is FDA-approved for use as a general anesthetic medication.  Ketamine has a very safe history in the surgical community and is frequently used in pediatric surgery.  It has been found to be effective in treating chronic pain and it is used to treat the extreme physical pain of CRPS/RSD when other treatment modalities have failed.

Is it safe?

Yes, Ketamine Infusion Therapy is safe. The patient’s vital signs will be monitored during the infusion.  Some patients report nausea as a side effect, so an anti-emetic may be added to the IV to help prevent this.  Patients with a history of nausea associated with medications or motion sickness should let their physician know so nausea can be prevented.

How does Ketamine Infusion Therapy work?

Ketamine works by blocking the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor, one of three major glutamate receptors. This receptor is involved in synaptic plasticity and memory function, among other functions. A ketamine-induced blockade of the NMDA receptor results in an increase in glutamate. This initiates a cascade of neurobiological events that researchers believe is a key reason behind ketamine’s rapid antidepressant effects.

Why is Ketamine Infusion Therapy beneficial when you suffer from chronic pain?

Ketamine Infusion Therapy has been reported to be a safe and effective procedure for chronic pain. Many people are turning to Ketamine Infusion Therapy because they are able to stop using opiate narcotic medications.  This gives individuals suffering from chronic pain the ability to live a normal life without experiencing the hazardous effects that these drugs can cause both short and long-term. There are a lot of medications that are prescribed for pain and these drugs may not be the best options. Those treatments have their own problems, and there are no good studies on using opioids for long periods of time for the treatment of chronic pain.

Can Ketamine Infusion Therapy relieve Depression, Bipolar or PTSD?

About 70% of patients with treatment-resistant depression (including patients who suffer from bipolar disorder) experience rapid improvements in their condition after receiving a low-dose ketamine infusion.  Similar success rates have been seen in returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD.  In recent studies, the patients that received the Ketamine Infusion Therapy had extremely severe cases, which have existed for years or even decades, and which have not responded to any other treatments. Many remained on the verge of suicide for years, many had actually attempted suicide, and all had endured an unproductive life. Studies show that Ketamine Infusion Therapy has worked positively on 70% of the patients who have used this therapy.  Before ketamine therapy, there was virtually no way to substantially improve the condition of patients like these. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the degree of relief can vary among patients.  Some sufferers get only partial relief, some do not get relief until a second or third infusion.

How long does Ketamine Infusion Therapy last?

This can vary a great deal between patients. Most patients who respond to ketamine find that a single infusion will provide at least several days of symptomatic relief. Patients who get a series of multiple infusions over several days often get symptomatic relief that lasts weeks.  Ketamine Infusion Therapy can help patients feel healthy and function normally.

What are the different types of Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Low Dose Ketamine Infusion Therapy – Another name for this technique is called the awake technique or in hospital technique.  This is when the patient receives a dose of between 20 mg and 35 mg of Ketamine depending on the patient’s weight, complex regional pain syndrome, health, and a variety of other health factors.

Outpatient Ketamine Infusion Therapy – The out-patient version usually entails repeated infusions done over a period of days, weeks, and months. The treatments are slowly decreased as the treatment evolves.

High Dose Ketamine Infusion Therapy – This is when the patient is placed into a medically-induced coma and given an extremely high dosage of Ketamine; typically between 500-700 mg per hour for 5 to 7 days.