What can I expect at an infusion visit? We will ask you to fast for 8 hours before your infusion. Once you have checked in, you will complete a questionnaire to assess your current status. The IV will be started in your hand or your arm using a small catheter. This may feel like a sting from a small bug bite. The Ketamine will be administered through your IV over a period of 40 minutes. We will take your vital signs before, during, and after the infusion. After resting for an additional 15-20 minutes after the infusion, you will be discharged home with your driver.
- What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that has been available since the 1960’s. In high doses, it can cause a ‘dissociative anesthesia” which induces hypnosis like states as well as unconsciousness. Around 2000, scientists started looking at Ketamine IV infusions carefully when its clinical usefulness was expanded to include a role in the management of mood disorders as well as chronic pain.
- Why can I not drive the day of the infusion?
Ketamine is a potent anesthetic. As with any anesthetic, we advise our patients to NOT operate any heavy machinery for the remainder of the day due to potential residual effects.
- What are the side effects?
Less than 2% of people will experience side effects. Some of the common side effects are: drowsiness, nausea, dizziness, poor coordination, blurred vision, and feeling strange or unreal. Most of these symptoms dissipate after the first hour of receiving the infusion.
- Are there certain conditions that are contra-indications for Ketamine treatment?
Yes. If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled hypertension, history of psychosis, history of failed Ketamine infusion treatment, history of substance abuse or dependence within the year (patients will undergo a screening process) you will not qualify for Ketamine infusion treatments.
- How will I know if I need a booster infusion and how frequently will I require them?
The duration of antidepressant efficacy after the initial treatment is different for everyone. The studies show that the variance can be 15 days to indefinitely. This is quite a range and unfortunately, there are no predictors for the duration.
- Is there a guarantee that this will work for me?
Unfortunately, we cannot give guarantees. Studies have shown that 70% of people will obtain efficacy. After the first 2 infusions, we will be able to ascertain whether the infusions will work for you. We will not advise you to continue your treatment after the first 2 infusions if we do not see a certain amount of improvement.
- Isn’t Ketamine addictive?
Ketamine has the potential to be addictive. Studies have shown that at these doses and frequency, Ketamine is not addictive.
- Do I have to continue my current treatments for depression?
Yes. We advise that you alert your current health care provider that you are undergoing these treatments and that you maintain your current regimen. It can be dangerous to stop taking your medications without the care of a physician. Our patients have a brighter outlook and a positive drive after their treatment that has allowed them to have higher success rates with psychotherapy. We will be happy to work with your current health care provider to provide the optimal outcome.