FAQ ABOUT KETAMINE FOR DEPRESSION
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT KETAMINE FOR DEPRESSION & CHRONIC PAIN
IS THERE A PHYSICIAN PRESENT DURING MY INFUSION?
Yes. Always. Many clinics make this compromise, but we never will. The gold standard for the safe administration of ketamine for depression is a physician anesthesiologist, and one will always be closely monitoring every infusion you have with us.
HOW WILL MY RESPONSE TO KETAMINE BE MONITORED?
Shantel Gallegos, the Vitalitas psychiatric provider, will be monitoring you every step of the way. She will meet with you often in the early stages of treatment to help assess your response. She will also employ response questionnaires that help you and us identify the response to treatment.
Is ketamine safe?
Ketamine has been used as an anesthetic and pain relief medication in operating rooms for decades. It is a very safe depression medication in the hands of properly trained healthcare professionals. Anesthesiologists are the most highly trained physicians when it comes to the safe use of ketamine.
Its use as a treatment for depression, including treatment-resistant depression and other mental health conditions, is at sub-anesthetic doses, below those necessary to induce general anesthesia. Ketamine is also frequently used to treat patients experiencing chronic pain conditions.
IS KETAMINE A RECREATIONAL DRUG?
Ketamine has been abused as a recreational drug. Street drug use is in doses vastly higher than the sub-anesthetic doses used for the treatment of depression and other mental health conditions. As mentioned above, ketamine for depression is used legally and safely everyday in the specialty of anesthesia and is a very safe medication in experienced hands. Incidentally, a large number of the drugs used in anesthesia practice have the potential for abuse, so ketamine is not unique in this respect. The key is administering the right dose to the right patient in the right setting.
IS INTRAVENOUS KETAMINE THE ONLY WAY TO DELIVER KETAMINE FOR TREATMENT RESISTANT DEPRESSION?
There are many other ways to give ketamine for depression and pain: orally, sublingual, intranasally, and intramascularly. Unfortunately, the effectiveness and predictability of response in these other routes are vastly inferior to intravenous ketamine. Additionally, the overwhelming majority of scientific studies of ketamine for depression and mental health conditions have been performed using IV Ketamine. In short, IV ketamine is the gold standard route for ketamine administration.
CAN KETAMINE HELP ME?
Research over the last 5-10 years has shown that intravenous administration of ketamine in sub-anesthetic doses remarkably benefits 70% of people suffering from severe depression, with 25% achieving remission. While the benefits can truly be remarkable, they often occur in ways that differ from some patients’ expectations. That is, the changes produced by ketamine can be subtle, and while they occur quickly, they do not always manifest themselves immediately. This phenomenon stands in contrast to some patients’ expectations of a benevolent “thunderbolt” response from ketamine treatment. With this in mind, we will work closely with you to identify and evaluate the benefits of ketamine as a depression medication.
Our internal data, collected over the course of performing over 10,000 ketamine infusions, demonstrates a 70% success rate among the patients we treat.
WHAT DOES THE RESEARCH SHOW ABOUT KETAMINE BENEFITS?
Please review the News and Research tab of our website to learn about the clinical research and read other newsworthy articles related to ketamine for depression and other mental health disorders.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST INFUSION?
After we have received your medical history, we will schedule an initial consultation with our psychiatric nurse practitioner who will answer all your questions, assess you as a candidate for ketamine therapy and formulate a plan for treatment.
The infusion logistics are as follows: we will place an IV, apply monitors to enable us to record your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen level continuously throughout the infusion, then we begin the infusion. The infusion itself takes about 45 minutes. Afterwards, we will monitor you for approximately 30 minutes before you are released with a friend or relative who can drive you safely home.
During the infusion, occasionally people experience nausea or dizziness. If you experience nausea, we are equipped to treat it with an IV dose of an anti-nausea medication.
You will be awake during the infusion and able to interact with those around you. It is best to relax quietly or listen to relaxing music during the infusion.
The effects of ketamine wear off quickly once the infusion is stopped, although we ask that you refrain from driving until the day after the infusion.
Please do not eat solid foods, milk, pulp-filled juices or soup for 4-hours prior to your appointment. You may have clear liquids such as water, Gatorade, apple juice, black coffee or tea up to two hours prior to your appointment.
HOW MANY INFUSIONS DO I NEED?
The standard ketamine infusion protocol for depression that has resulted from scientific trials and clinical experience around the U.S. is 4-6 infusions over a two-week period. We have found 4, rather than 6, initial infusions to be the most high yield. It has been shown that serial infusions are more effective than single infusions, and the majority of patients who respond to ketamine treatment require maintenance infusions on an ongoing basis following the initial series. The frequency of these maintenance infusions varies greatly from person to person. It is important to note that ketamine infusions should not be viewed as a cure for depression, but rather a depression treatment that is a piece of a multi-modal approach that may include ongoing mental health therapy or other depression medication.
CAN I CONTINUE TO TAKE MY REGULAR MEDICATIONS?
Yes, you should not stop your antidepressant medications in order to receive ketamine. It is essential that we review your current medication list prior to beginning ketamine treatments.
IS KETAMINE ADDICTING?
Ketamine is not physically addicting, but has been shown to be psychologically addicting in those using it recreationally at much higher doses and in far greater frequencies than we will use.
CONTACT OUR TEAM
Learn more about ketamine for depression and chronic pain, and find out if you or a loved one is a candidate.
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phone: (720) 724-8075
fax: (720) 485-4178
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LITTLETON, CO KETAMINE CLINIC
26 West Dry Creek Circle; Suite 200
Littleton, CO 80120
WESTMINSTER, CO KETAMINE CLINIC
12110 North Pecos St; Suite 160
Westminster, CO 80234