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Ketamine has only been FDA approved for nasal administration for the treatment of severe depression. However, it is legally prescribed and administered as “off label” use as treatment for depression by licensed physicians. Fast acting positive outcomes have been recorded for the previously mentioned diagnoses for over 40 years.
Patients may notice improvement within the first few hours after their initial infusion. This is much faster than traditional oral medications that may take up to 8 weeks for optimum relief of depression/psychiatric symptoms. Although benefit may be seen after the first few hours, more long lasting relief has been documented to occur after all 6 initial treatments have been completed.
No you will not have to stay overnight. All of our treatments are performed in our state-of-the-art facility, with the total treatment and recovery time lasting 1.5-2 hours total. You will sit in a comfortable recliner and our registered nurses will monitor your comfort and vital signs throughout the process. Our fellowship trained doctors will also be present to monitor your progress and ensure that you have a great experience.
Unfortunately, at this time insurance is only covering nasal administration of brand name ketamine for severe depression. Intravenous ketamine, though backed by research for the treatment of depression, at this time is an out-of-pocket treatment expense. As the medical field changes its practice guidelines, this treatment may then be covered by insurance. You will be the first to know when coverage becomes available.
Patients have found immediate relief after the first treatment within hours. However, evidence-based medicine does show that prolonged relief occurs after the initial 6 treatments are completed. Although benefit may be seen with fewer treatments, more long lasting relief is seen after all 6 are completed.
You do not have to be referred by a psychiatrist. It is preferred however that you are receiving treatment by your mental health team which may include a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health counselor and primary care doctor. Our team will monitor your progress from before and after your treatment.
Antidepressant medications do not usually interfere with ketamine therapy and do not need to be stopped or tapered. However, high-dose benzodiazepines (Ativan, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and others) may reduce the positive effects of ketamine if used at high doses for long periods of time. The medication Lamictal may also affect the response of ketamine therapy. If you are on these medications, you should be evaluated by your psychiatrist and by one of our physicians to make sure that you are a candidate for ketamine therapy.
It has been shown that low dose IV ketamine therapy has not resulted in long-term side effects. The doses that we use are about 900% lower than what is used in hospitals for anesthesia. A small amount of patients may experience high blood pressure, nausea and a mild out of body experience. These side effects are managed in our clinic by the administration of relaxing medications before the infusion is started. We also have medications on hand to assist immediately with episodes of high blood pressure and nausea.
Medications in the benzodiazepine class such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium and Klonopin may reduce the positive effects of ketamine if used at high doses for long periods of time. The medication Lamictal and antidepressants in the monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor class may also decrease ketamine efficacy. Consult with your physicians prior to treatment.
Intravenous ketamine therapy will be available at all Florida Medical Pain Management facilities. These include our locations in St. Petersburg, New Port Richey and Spring Hill. Please look on our website for the addresses for these locations.