Ketamine infusion therapy consists of a series of 6 small doses of intravenous (IV) ketamine administered by a medical professional over 12 days to relieve the symptoms of Treatment Resistant Depression and/or chronic pain. Response, if achieved, is usually seen within 1 to 3 infusions. Some people respond immediately, others within the first 24 hours following a treatment. Some require a second or third treatment before experiencing relief from chronic pain or depression, while about 20-30% of patients do not respond to the treatments at all. The relief from the symptoms of depression, however, can last for days, weeks, and, sometimes, months. Booster treatments may be discussed with your doctor.
Because of its hallucinogenic properties, ketamine is considered a dissociative anesthetic. During ketamine therapy, patients may experience a partial loss of awareness of their bodies that might be strange, but is usually a pleasant sensation. Ketamine breaks down quickly once in the body, so any of the initial effects of the drug end within 30 – 60 minutes, and ketamine is totally eliminated from the body within 24 hours.
What is Ketamine Therapy Like?
Ketamine can temporarily distort the senses and impair coordination, causing a floating sensation, hallucinations or illusions, vivid dreams, or mild confusion. Most patients find the ketamine experience to be enjoyable, and find that it allows for examination of thoughts and feelings that can be therapeutic. Most people experience a state of deep relaxation in response to a treatment. It is recommended that patients bring in music with headphones to enhance their ketamine experience. We provide a soothing and therapeutic environment to optimize the entire experience.
Patients receiving ketamine will have an IV inserted and receive their infusion over a 40-minute period. During the infusion, each patient will have their vital signs monitored closely. Even the most common side effects, which include rapid changes in heart rate and blood pressure, temporary vision impairment, and nausea, are short lived.
Patients are usually released into the care of a friend or family member less than an hour after treatment concludes.
Tammy Saah, MD
Director of Ketamine Services
Dr. Saah’s clinical and research interests are focused in Treatment Resistant Depression(TRD), with emphasis on advanced psychopharmacology, novel therapeutics (ketamine), and Neuro-modulation (rTMS).