FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that was first developed in 1962, and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.  The most common use of  Ketamine is as a surgical anesthetic, and has only been approved by the FDA to be marketed as such. Any use of Ketamine outside of that of an anesthetic is considered “off label,” and allowed when deemed medically appropriate by an attending physician. It is estimated that almost 25% of all prescription medications sold in the United States, are prescribed “off label.”

Ketamine, like so many other medications, has several different applications. Since 1970, Ketamine has been a successful anesthetic used in hospitals, dentist offices veterinary and medical practices with an excellent safety record. In the past 10 years, Ketamine was identified as having beneficial effects on patients with depression, suicidal tendencies and certain neurologic pain syndromes. That is what Elevated Health has been using Ketamine to treat.

How does Ketamine work?

“Ketamine has been shown to be effective in people who have not responded to antidepressant treatment,” says Dr. Christina Cusin, and assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.  The fast-acting treatment has shown promise-sometime improving depressive symptoms within hours of the first intravenous treatment.  Ketamine has also been shown to stimulate neuron growth in the brain in as quickly as one hour. Many scientists studying Ketamine are focusing on the neurotransmitter glutamate, which plays a key role in neural activation. Ketamine has also been found to be a strong anti-inflammatory.  Ketamine is completely different from traditional anti-depressant treatments such as SSRIs or MOAI inhibitors.  Ketamine infusions are administered through an IV. You will be in our office for 1-1.5 hours depending on your treatment. You will be required to have transportation home after your infusion. Privacy will be respected as you will be in your own treatment room comfortably reclined and able to relax for the entire session. The effect of a Ketamine infusion is comparable to Dental gas. During the treatment you may experience what is called a “dissociative effect.” Many patients describe the experience with words like “relaxing” or “floating.” Ketamine therapy must be administered in a very precise way in order to achieve the antidepressant effect. Using an IV drip ensures that the ketamine goes directly into the bloodstream and to your brain without first being metabolized by your body. The IV drip rate will be set precisely and adjusted throughout the procedure so that the optimal rate can be maintained. Your initial dose will be based on your weight, and the Doctor may adjust it in later treatments to improve your results.  When the Ketamine is administered in this very accurate way, it can activate a sequence of events in the brain, which ultimately results in the re-growth of neurons that previously have died off. Ketamine can cause these neurons to rapidly re-grow within hours, and relieve depression symptoms.

How soon will my symptoms improve?

Many patients feel better during the treatment itself. Others notice a marked improvement in mood or pain levels within a day of treatment.

How long will I need to undergo treatment?

Length of treatment is individual to each patient. The 1st treatment will relieve your symptoms for a few days. It is necessary to repeat the treatment to ensure a return to a healthy mood, or to relieve pain for an extended period. For chronic conditions, our process involves extending the period of remission, by slowly stretching out the time between Ketamine infusions.

What are the common side effects?

Any side effects experienced as a result of Ketamine infusions will go away within an hour of treatment. The most commonly reported side effects include mild nausea, drowsiness, and a temporary increase in blood pressure. The clinical staff will closely monitor your blood pressure and heart rate throughout the course of the infusion. Less common side effects include vivid dreams, mood swings, or agitation. If these types of side effects do occur, they are controlled by adjusting the dosage of Ketamine

Are there health risks?

Ketamine is typically well tolerated, and we are not aware of any significant adverse reactions at the low dose used for this treatment. At the higher doses used in operating rooms, Ketamine has been known to cause hallucinations, as well as other cognitive distortions. Use of Ketamine by people with heart disease may aggravate these conditions. It is important that you fill out the medical questionnaire fully and truthfully, so we can properly evaluate whether or not Ketamine is appropriate for you.

What is the cost of the consultation?

The consultation cost is $100 and that will be put towards the cost of your first infusion.

What is the cost of infusions?

The cost for each individual Depression treatment is $349.

Is there a referral or rewards program for current patients?

Yes. Refer a new patient and receive $100 off the total cost of your next maintenance infusion.

Do you do Ketamine intra-muscular injections?

In most cases Elevated Health uses IV infusion.  However, certain cases may require intramuscular administration.  This is evaluated on a case by case basis.