Ketamine FAQs

Answers to your questions

Frequently asked questions

What is ketamine?

Ketamine was initially developed in 1960’s and FDA approved in 1970 as an anesthetic, and is still used as such, especially in children and in the field by military medics. For years, Ketamine clinics have been treating depression and addiction across the country. Ketamine’s use outside anesthesia is considered “off label,” and allowed when medically appropriate by a physician. Ketamine has been used off-label in sub-anesthetic doses for the past 20 years to treat chronic pain, depression, and a variety of other mental health concerns, thanks to its rapid onset antidepressant effects, sometimes providing nearly immediate relief from emotional and physical pain. While the antidepressant effects tend to be temporary after a single ketamine treatment, multiple treatments have proven to have a cumulative effect, successfully alleviating symptoms in approximately 30 - 60% of individuals with treatment-resistant depression.

What is ketamine used to treat?

Difficult to treat depression, severe anxiety, OCD, suicidality, PTSD, addiction, Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome

How does ketamine work?

Ketamine has been shown to modulate neurons in the brain as soon as 60-minutes. Scientists researching Ketamine have focused their attention on the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is increased by inhibiting the NMDA receptor. This in-turn plays a key role in neural activation and produces dissociative anesthesia. Neurons that wire together, fire together and hence promote neuroplasticity.

Is this legal?

In the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency has Ketamine listed as Schedule III, meaning it requires a prescription to obtain.

How soon will symptoms improve?

Ketamine has been shown to modulate neurons in the brain as soon as 60-minutes. Depending on the administration, these improvements can be sustained for weeks to months

What effects will I feel?

Ketamine’s success rate is nearly double that of traditional antidepressant medications. At lower doses it can feel euphoric, and at higher doses, patients can experience hallucinations and even experience dissolving of the physical environment and body, in what is often referred to as a “K-hole” phenomenon.

Are there any medications that interfere with ketamine treatment?

There are many drugs, that will minimize the effectiveness of Ketamine. It is imperative that you inform us of all medications you're taking, and we’ll communicate with your provider to ascertain appropriate coordination of care.

What are the most common side effects?

Elevated blood pressure, nausea, dysphoria, hypersalivation, drowsiness, post-anesthesia dissociation, and some may feel worse before feeling better.

What are the risks?

Usually, elevations in blood pressure or dysphoria however, some medical and psychiatric conditions need to be treated before you can safely work with ketamine. These conditions include hallucinations, dissociative identity disorder (DID), chaotic substance use, untreated mania, cardiovascular disease, uncontrolled hyperthyroidism, increased intracranial pressure, cystitis, or evidence of liver disease.

What is the cost of initial consult/screening?

Cost for initial consult or screening is $125 and includes psychological assessment and a review of medical history with our medical provider(s). 

Is ketamine treatment affordable?

Currently, the FDA indication for ketamine use in depression, PTSD, OCD and CRPS is “off-label” and as such not covered by most insurance plans however, there are specific indications in which ketamine may be covered. Recently, FDA approved intranasal ketamine which is covered by most insurance plans. Additional charges for psychotherapy apply. Inquire within to see if you qualify.

Does insurance cover ketamine therapy?

Ketamine infusion therapy is typically not a service reimbursed by insurance companies. However, depending on your specific insurance plan, some portion(s) of the treatment might be eligible for some reimbursement.

How is ketamine administered?

Ketamine can be administered in number of ways: intravenous (IV), intramuscular (IM), intranasal (nasal spray), lozenge (troche), rectally and topically. It is an extremely versatile medication; most research however, is focused on IV use.