Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that was discovered in 1962 and has been used in surgical and emergency rooms world wide. Recently, a growing body of research has shown positive benefits in using ketamine therapy as an intervention for mental health disorders, chronic pain, suicidal ideation, and psychological exploration. The FDA approved esketamine nasal spray (Spravato) as a method for combating treatment-resistant depression in March 2019, and further extended the approval for treatment in adults with Major Depressive Disorder and acute suicidal ideation/behavior. Ketamine is widely regarded as one of the most important mental health breakthroughs in recent years.
Ketamine interacts with the brain in a different way than other conventional antidepressants. It works with unique neural pathways affecting multiple neurotransmitters and can lead to neuroplasticity. Often, rapid positive changes in mood and pain symptoms are seen after treatment, but most patients need more than one medicated session in the first phase of treatment in order to sustain the benefits. When combined with other types of psychological support the effects of ketamine can be prolonged significantly. Across the board we have observed positive changes in the brain centers involved in executive functioning, learning, cognitive flexibility, attention, and memory.
Medical professionals are seeing ketamine’s wide variety of uses. Intravenous and Intramuscular ketamine therapy are the most commonly used methods of delivery and additionally, have the most research supporting effects on treatment-resistant depression, as well as other long-term pain and mental health conditions. Some of the other areas where ketamine has been shown to be effective include:
Ketamine is what is known as an NMDA receptor antagonist. It affects parts of your brain that are involved in pain perception, memory, and learning. While experiencing ketamine, and in the days after a treatment, there is an increase in neuroplasticity, or a re-wiring/reorganization of certain pathways in the brain. This allows space for new thoughts, new ways of processing, and new ways of thinking about and dealing with internal and external stressors in your life.
Part of ketamine’s benefit is that it is, comparatively, very low risk. When Ketamine is used as a street drug, it is used at a much higher dose all at once. Therapeutic doses for Ketamine therapy infusions are administered at safe low doses over a prolonged amount of time and have been shown not to result in addiction. It does increase blood pressure and heart rate, so if there are any preexisting conditions that affect these two factors the candidate may not be eligible for treatment. Occasionally ketamine can upset the stomach, but this will usually subside in a matter of hours. There are medications that the doctor can administer to help alleviate these symptoms if they persist throughout the treatment.
At Thrive IV we focus on intravenous administration of Ketamine. You will be in a comfortable, private room where you will be given noise canceling headphones with soothing music playing and an eye mask. A small intravenous line will be placed in the forearm or hand where Ketamine will be given in a measured and time dose based on your weight and medical history. Sometimes the doctor will need to administer other medications to make you comfortable and safe. Blood pressure, oxygen and heart rhythm monitors will be used and levels checked at regular intervals. Only the doctor or team member doing these assessments will be with you while your Ketamine infusion is administered. You are welcome to have a family member or close friend with you throughout your treatment, although most patients choose to be alone. If you would like to bring someone with you into the treatment room, please notify our office in advance of your treatment.
You may feel mild visual hallucinations, out of body experience and other similar mild effects that wear off quickly. This is perfect and what we want to happen! It is a sign you are responding to the infusion therapy and is encouraging, letting us know we are on the right path to helping you.
Yes, you should discuss your treatment with all of your other providers and we will help support you during this focused healing process.
Pregnancy, breastfeeding, uncontrolled/untreated high blood pressure, untreated hyperthyroidism and congestive heart failure may preclude treatment with Ketamine.
We typically recommend a series of 6 ketamine treatments over the course of 2-3 weeks. Sometimes changes can be seen after the first ketamine session, and other times it takes 3-5 sessions before change starts to occur. Regular boosters have been shown to prolong the positive benefits and also help with pain/symptom management. Patient and practitioner availability, and patient circumstances can affect the total duration of treatment.
The morning of your treatment, continue to take your medications as usual with the exception of the following:
Discontinue taking these 12 hours before treatment. Taking any of the medications mentioned above could result in cancelation of that day’s therapy.
Physical side effects from ketamine therapy are mild, and do not occur in every patient. Nausea, vertigo and headaches are the most common, and can be treated in session. Even if you experience any of these they are typically for only short periods of time and resolve often with no treatment.
Other side effects can include an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, some respiratory depression, or simply a larger degree of mental dissociation than the patient was expecting. We screen each patient for these risk factors, but in the event that they do occur, stopping the experience, and/or treating them with medications are always an option. These side effects generally do not persist, and usually last between 5 and 15 minutes. Most people report feeling sleepy as a side effect in the hours after their treatment, but the feeling dissipates as ketamine is metabolized and eliminated from the body. There have been virtually no long-term side effects reported by practitioners.
According to most recent studies, and testimonies from ketamine therapy practices, about 70-80% of patients respond positively and begin to “feel better” after their first ketamine treatment.
Currently, most insurance do not pay for ketamine treatment for mood/pain disorders. At Thrive IV, we are happy to provide you with a "super bill" after your treatment for you to then submit to your individual insurance carrier. Generally, most mood infusions are scheduled in 2 hour increments and require 6 sessions over a 2-3 week period. Each session is $500. Pain infusions generally are scheduled in 4-6 hour increments and require anywhere between 1-4 sessions or more. Pain infusions begin at $1500.
Thank you for choosing Thrive IV to partner with on your Ketamine Treatment journey. If you have any questions, please reach out by phone (508) 848-8089 text or by email at ThriveIVKetamine@gmail.com.