Will Ketamine therapy help my treatment resistant depression?
Of course, we cannot predict any individual’s results but based on searches of major medical centers over the past 15 years, and in our experience, up to 70% of all patients can expect significant, and fast, relief
Do I need to be referred by a psychiatrist?
No. However, you need to be evaluated by an appropriate provider to make sure you are a candidate. It also gives you a chance to ask questions and be heard.
Where is the treatment performed?
Right here in our offices. No fancy ambulatory care centers or hospitals are needed. It is a safe and simple procedure.
How many Ketamine infusions will I receive?
We encourage you to receive a series of 6 infusions because there is good data for that protocol being efficacious. We monitor you closely so we can customize your treatment.
Will I require Ketamine infusions for the rest of my life?
This is difficult to answer because you first have to START treatment and see how that goes. And “the rest of your life” is hopefully a mighty long time. The frequency of maintenance and relapse prevention treatments vary greatly. We know many mental illnesses are naturally recurring but many times, the Ketamine will help you do what you need to prevent relapse.
If Ketamine therapy works for me how soon will I begin to feel better?
Some patients will begin to feel better within hours of the first infusion. Patients with thoughts of self-harm often notice those thoughts dissipating first. There can be a dramatic relief of dread and hopelessness. Other patients may not notice any mood improvement until the next day. Some patients will require a second (or even a third) infusion before feeling better.
Are there any long-term side effects with Ketamine therapy?
Traditional medications often produce side effects such as sexual dysfunction and weight gain. However, Ketamine therapy results in no known long-term side effects.
I am bi-polar. Will Ketamine make me hypomanic?
Hypomania has not been reported following Ketamine therapy.
What medical conditions could keep me from receiving Ketamine?
There are very few. Dr. Ferguson will discuss contraindications with you before you receive your first infusion.
Are Ketamine infusions addictive?
Will my current psychiatric medications interfere with Ketamine therapy?
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics) do not interfere with Ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. Ketamine infusions can provide relief during the time it takes antidepressant medications to begin working. We prefer that Benzodiazepine medications not be taken during your 6 infusions or taken at the lowest dose possible because we want to wake up your neurons, not dampen them. Important: You should not decrease or stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescribing physician.
What should I expect during Ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is administered over a period of 40 minutes by an intravenous infusion. The dose is determined by your weight. The amount of Ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you will remain awake. During the infusion some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative” or “out of body” experience. These are side effects of Ketamine that may be important for Ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly dissipate. There are no delayed “flashbacks,” and patients generally leave the office within 30 minutes following the infusion without issues.
Are there other side effects that I would experience during or after my therapy?
Occasionally patients experience some nausea during or after an infusion. If so, we have medication that will help. More rarely, a patient may experience a transient headache. Patients can expect to be tired following the infusion. Very, very rarely patients already at risk for seizure have reportedly experienced one. If you have a seizure disorder, please be sure to share that information with Dr. Ferguson prior to receiving Ketamine.
What happens after my series of Ketamine infusions?
Following the initial series of infusions, most patients will work with Dr. Ferguson to begin a maintenance program of returning for single infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient.
Will my insurance company pay for Ketamine therapy?
Because Ketamine therapy for mood and anxiety disorders is recent and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.