Beneficial Effects for Clinically Depressed Patients
Ketamine infusion therapy as a treatment of clinical depression is still relatively new, but has been shown to have beneficial effects on clinically depressed patients. Not everyone who receives ketamine for depression experiences relief, but some early studies show results in 60–70 percent range of response.
Ketamine is given as an IV infusion in a much smaller dose and shorter duration than required for anesthesia purposes.
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Who Is a Candidate for Ketamine Treatment?
Patients are screened carefully using a number of tests and procedures to determine if they are eligible for treatment. Ketamine infusions may be an effective treatment for patients with depression who have not benefitted from antidepressant medications.
How Long Does a Ketamine Treatment Last?
Recently performed and published studies have shown that a very low dose of ketamine infused over one hour have had dramatic positive effects on clinical depression, especially towards suicidal feelings and in cases that don’t respond to standard treatment. The results show a pretty immediate resolution of depression, immediately or in a few hours.
The relief from a single infusion can last for as little as a few hours to as much as a few weeks. In general most patients typically experience one to two weeks of relief.
Unfortunately, with only one infusion, most patients have a return of their depressive symptoms after this interval. Research is being conducted into lengthening ketamine’s anti-depressant effect through more than one infusion (twice a week) to attempt a longer-lasting benefit, and its long term safety and efficacy are being studied.
How Does Ketamine Treatment Work?
Ketamine infusions are typically given twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, for up to six treatments. This may vary depending on individual needs and response.
What to Expect the Day of Ketamine Treatment
No food can be eaten for eight hours prior to treatment. No gum, candy, or smoking for six hours prior. Water is okay up to four hours before treatment. Once checked in, a low dose of Ketamine is infused through an IV over the course of 40 minutes. During this time, the patient will be continually monitored by a nurse and a doctor.
Usually patients can go home within 20–30 minutes of completion of infusion. It is required that the patient arrange a driver to drive them home and preferably someone to stay with them that day.
Side Effects From Ketamine
During the infusion you may experience an altered mental status, although you will be alert and able to talk. Patients have also reported blurred vision, slurred speech, mental confusion, nausea, and vomiting. You will return to a normal mental state rapidly when the infusion is over.
Do not drive or operate machinery, care for others, or sign important papers on the day of treatment. It is required that the patient arrange a driver, and preferably someone to stay with them that day.
Cost of Ketamine Treatments
Ketamine infusions are currently not covered by insurance. We have recently begun offering ketamine infusions on a self-pay basis. Self-pay rate for ketamine infusions is handled on a per treatment basis and must be paid before the infusion service. For more information about infusion cost and financial responsibility please contact our office.