Ketamine FAQs

Read AboutKetamine FAQs

Is ketamine used to treat all depression?
Ketamine infusion therapy is reserved for those patients with severe depression that is considered treatment resistant.
Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine has been proven safe in humans in and out of hospitals and battle fields for surgical anesthesia and trauma management. Those patients experience longer exposures and at much higher doses than those used to treat severe depression. Ketamine does have abuse potential.

Does ketamine work for depression when given orally or nasally?

Ketamine is absorbed by the body very differently and unreliably when taken orally or nasally and has not been shown to be as effective for depression. It is also difficult to get the levels high enough for the treatment to be effective when administered orally or nasally.

Is ketamine the right choice for me?

You may be a candidate for ketamine infusions if you suffer from depression, certain anxiety disorders, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) This includes Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Depression, and Postpartum Depression. Patients with recurrent thoughts of suicide, who need immediate mood stabilization, will often benefit from ketamine infusion therapy. For patients who have been diagnosed with treatment resistant depression, anxiety or PTSD and have not found relief with oral medications, ketamine may be an especially beneficial treatment. Some patients who wish to avoid side effects associated with more traditional treatments may also desire ketamine treatment. If you have your own psychiatrist, they can be trained by the medical staff at PsychMed to determine if you are a candidate for ketamine treatment. If you do not have a psychiatrist, Dr. Bienenfeld and Dr. Raff will evaluate your symptoms and treatment history to make that determination.

Read AboutKetamine Infusion FAQs

What is involved in a ketamine infusion?

You will receive your infusion in a private room with full heart and vital signs monitoring by Dr. Bienenfeld and Dr. Raff. An IV will be placed and the appropriate dose of ketamine will be administered over a 40 min time frame. A physician and/or infusion staff member will monitor both for your tolerance and response to the treatment. This will allow the physician to adjust your dose of ketamine, if necessary, for it to be most effective. Most individuals report a calm and peaceful experience during the infusion. Some individuals remain awake and alert during the experience. It is not uncommon for individuals to notice changes in her vision, lightheadedness or sense of dreamlike state. Sometimes, individuals report feeling disconnected and slowed down in the thoughts. Most people can expect to be at the office for a total of 90 minutes with no side effects when discharged and none between treatments. You will need a trusted friend or family member to drive you home after your infusion. They do not need to stay with you during you entire infusion.

What is the usual treatment course?

Typically, it will take just 1 or 2 infusions to know if ketamine will help you. If you are having positive results, it is recommended to have 8 total infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks. After that, maintenance infusions may be scheduled to maintain response, usually monthly after completing the initial series of infusions. The total length of treatment is highly dependent on each individual. Sometimes, a single booster infusion, when effects are wearing off, can restore response. There is research to suggest that in order for the effects of ketamine to be sustained, a maintenance regimen is needed.

Is this an outpatient procedure?
Yes, ketamine infusion for depression is an outpatient procedure requiring no hospital admission.
How long does an infusion take?
The infusion itself takes about 45 minutes, recovery times average about 20-40 minutes.
What will I experience during the infusion?
Mild dissociation or inner reflective experience that is generally well tolerated. If you find it unpleasant we can treat it. Within 15-20 minutes of ending the infusion your thinking will be back to normal.

Read AboutPlanning a PsychMed Visit

How quickly can you see me?

Within a day if an emergency. We are here five days a week we can meet most patient’s scheduling needs.

Do I need a referral?
No, while referrals from any mental health care provider are welcome and encouraged, a free consultation with one of our doctors can determine if you are a good candidate for ketamine therapy.

If you already have a psychiatrist, they are welcome to contact Drs. Bienenfeld and Raff in order to coordinate care but your psychiatrist will continue your ongoing treatment. If you do not already have a psychiatrist, our medical staff will serve as the treating physicians in your care.

Are there any medications that interact with ketamine?
Benzodiazepines, such as Klonopin, Xanax, and Ativan do interfere with ketamine if used daily and at higher doses. Lamictal (lamotrigine) in doses above 100mg/day also can block ketamine efficacy.

There are very few medicines that cannot be taken in combination with ketamine. For treatment planning purposes, please contact us with any questions regarding interactions between your current medications and ketamine. Dr. Bienenfeld and Dr. Raff will address any changes that need to be made at the time of your consultation.

Do any medical conditions exclude me from treatment?
Rarely. Uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart failure need to be corrected. Pregnant women should NOT receive ketamine. Patients with epilepsy should not receive treatment with ketamine. Patients with a history of abusing or being addicted to ketamine should be very cautious about using it medically.

Antidepressant medications do not interfere with ketamine’s mechanism of action.

I live out of town. Can I receive treatment at PsychMed, PLLC?

Yes, we offer a concierge service for out of town and international patients. This service includes transportation to and from the airport and your clinic visits by a private, luxury transportation service. We will also arrange for accommodations for you and a trusted friend or family member that will be caring for you. We can also arrange for translators as needed. We know that traveling as a patient can be difficult, and we will do our very best to make it a positive, stress-free experience. We extend the same concierge service for accommodations and transportation to and from the clinic.

Will my insurance pay for ketamine therapy?

Currently ketamine infusion therapy is NOT a covered benefit by any insurance plan because it is an off-label use of this medication. We can only accept cash or credit cards. We cannot accept checks. We require payment prior to treatment.

What is the cost?

A sweet of 6-8 infusions are recommended which includes an initial consultation as well as to subsequent followup evaluations at week 2 and 4. The total cost for the sweet package is $7900.

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