Ketamine FAQs

Ketamine General Information

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a sedative-hypnotic with pain-relieving effects. It is a commonly used anesthetic. Its dissociative properties minimize memory of trauma surrounding the time of its administration. When used for surgery, it keeps the patient asleep, mitigates the pain response, and “disconnects” the mind from the body.

PCP was being used for surgery, based on its sedating and pain-relieving properties. But, the emergence from that sleep was not always prompt and safe. Some patients suffered psychotic spells and depression that could take days or weeks to resolve. Ketamine grew out of the need for an agent similar in function to PCP but with a faster, more predictable, and ultimately safer “emergence.” 

What is ketamine used for?

Ketamine has been approved as an anesthetic for decades. Recently, it has been approved for Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) in the form of a nasal spray. There are many other conditions that Ketamine is being used for like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder (BPD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Chronic Pain, migraines, substance abuse, and more. These uses are known as “off-label” and are perfectly legal therapeutic targets as long as the Ketamine is prescribed by a licensed physician.

How does Ketamine work for depression?

According to recent evidence, dysregulation of the glutamatergic system is a primary cause of depression. The development of NMDA receptor antagonists like Ketamine is opening new avenues of research for more effective antidepressants acting on this system directly. Ketamine is usually safe in conjunction with the other medications frequently taken as part of depression treatment regimens. As with any combination of medications, interactions are possible. Always inform your doctor of the medications you take to come up with a safe and effective plan.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy

What is Ketamine therapy?

Ketamine therapy is the off-label use of Ketamine to treat conditions like depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Ketamine therapy is still experimental, and ongoing studies show a vast range of benefits. Ketamine is delivered intravenously, intranasally, orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously, or rectally. IV Ketamine treatment is favored for several reasons:

  • precise dosing
  • high bioavailability
  • a long history of safety monitoring and intervention protocols

What does a Ketamine infusion feel like?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. Generally speaking, you may experience mild sedation or “twilight,” spaciness, dizziness, a sense of intoxication, perhaps like that from alcohol or marijuana, blurry or double vision, and unsteadiness. These usually pass within an hour or two of treatment.

Some patients, especially at high doses, may experience stronger effects such as hallucinations or “out-of-body experiences,” potentially causing anxiety. Despite any discomfort, many experts consider these effects helpful to the therapeutic outcome. 

Many patients report a joyful, euphoric sensation. Some describe it as tingling, calm, relaxing, and a general sense of joy and happiness.

Treatments can relieve powerfully distressing thoughts and emotions, like those concerning suicide or ruminations on anxiety, depression, and pain. 

Ketamine infusions do not hurt. IV insertion may be briefly uncomfortable. The infusion itself is not painful.

How long does ketamine last?

We know pharmacodynamically the clearance rate of Ketamine from the body. Unknown is 

1) whether therapeutic impacts last a fixed time irrespective of the condition or its severity? 

2) if symptom relief endures equally long between similarly diagnosed patients? 

3) whether the scant formal clinical study evidence indicating a therapeutic fall-off between 1-2 weeks is a reliable guideline across the patient spectrum?

4) are we closer to predicting the necessary intervals and dosage adjustments between booster treatments?

5) how the sensory, medical, or psychological features of the treatment fluctuate due to increased tolerance and other considerations.  

How many Ketamine infusions do you need?

Some patients experience symptom relief during the first treatment. Others begin enjoying the benefits over the following days or weeks of treatment. However, some patients do not seem to respond to Ketamine. 

Approximately 2/3 of patients experience significant improvement, and the only way to know for sure is to try the treatments. Initial treatments are usually combined into a short time frame of roughly two treatments per week for 2-3 weeks. Booster or maintenance treatment schedules can also vary significantly.  Read more in our blog post here.

Esketamine vs. ketamine: what is the difference?

Esketamine and Ketamine are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Esketamine (or its commercial name Spravato) is a nasal spray, whereas Ketamine is mostly administered via infusion.

Molecularly speaking, Ketamine is comprised of two isomers, S and K. Ketamine infusion therapy use a “racemic” combination of S and K, whereas esketamine intranasal spray only uses the S side. Read more about the difference between ketamine and esketamine

Ketamine Cost

How much does ketamine treatment cost?

Ketamine treatment fees vary by provider, condition, and geographical location. Given these many variables,  on average, sessions range from $250-$2000.

Infusions for pain conditions top the expense scale due to the extended treatment sessions. Pain treatment sessions can require several times the length of the psychiatric infusion. 

While the treatment is expensive, you may qualify for financing or financial assistance through local and national programs.

Is ketamine therapy covered by insurance?

As a rule, health insurance plans do not cover the cost of Ketamine treatment. Your Ketamine doctor will provide you with a receipt including the treatment codes for submission to your insurance provider. That way, you may submit this documentation to your carrier in hopes of receiving some reimbursement.

How can I pay for Ketamine?

Paying for Ketamine treatment is not always easy. Out-of-pocket costs range from the mid $100s to over $1000.

These costs can quickly strain a patient’s budget for health expenses, particularly if their finances are under the pressure of being out of work. 

I believe when there’s a therapy that helps people, it should be available and affordable. 

Many people, upon learning the costs understandable, give up hope on this treatment. I’d encourage you not to give up but instead take a look at the information I’ve collected that uniquely creates new payment and insurance reimbursement opportunities. 

Addressing all of the ways to pay for Ketamine treatment may open your eyes optimistically to the possibility of getting the treatment you need despite your current financial situation.

Ketamine Clinics

Where to buy ketamine?

Any licensed physician is legally permitted to prescribe and offer Ketamine treatments. These include PCPs, psychiatrists, internists, endocrinologists, anesthesiologists, etc. However, physicians with Ketamine experience are more sought after, especially anesthesiologists who work with Ketamine regularly. 

Ketamine treatments are given in clinical settings, offices, hospitals, or at the home. Find Ketamine maintains a worldwide directory of Ketamine Clinics and Providers to find treatment options near you.

How to find a Ketamine clinic near me?

Find Ketamine hosts an international directory of Ketamine Clinics and Providers to find the best treatment option near you. Choosing the right Ketamine clinic that best fits your personal situation and needs is key. Read more about what to look for and the key questions you should ask and expect when evaluating Ketamine centers for your treatment.

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