We treat patients with depression, anxiety, and PTSD with IV ketamine. IV ketamine offers benefits many other treatments do not. For patients who respond well to treatment, the biggest benefit is how fast ketamine works. Studies with IV ketamine have shown that patients can have a rapid relief in symptoms. More studies are underway.
With IV ketamine, about 70% – 75% of patients who get treatment experience positive results. Different studies report different success rates. Like any treatment, not all patients will have positive results. It’s also important to know that ketamine isn’t a cure, but rather an adjunct to improve your current therapy.
What’s Treatment With IV Ketamine Like?
Ketamine, an anesthetic that’s been used since the 1960s, was found to have unexpected and profoundly beneficial psychological effects. With general anesthesia, the goal is to put the patient to sleep. Compared to a hospital setting, patients receive IV ketamine at a much lower dose over a shorter period of time. The infusion is controlled and can be tapered down to your needs.
Ketamine is given intravenously while you are on a cardiac monitor to continually assess your vital signs. Patients receiving IV ketamine often describe the feeling as floating, or an out-of-body, “loopy” experience. Short term side effects are feelings of dissociation of mind and body, disorientation, and visual hallucinations. You can wear an eye mask during treatment to avoid any visual disturbance. You may feel a temporary numbness to hands, feet, and around the mouth. You may feel nauseated toward the end of a treatment. You might have an elevation in your blood pressure and heart rate. This is usually transient and resolves after the infusion is finished.
Induction Treatment Phase
The induction phase of IV ketamine is two infusions per week for two weeks. For each treatment, you’ll receive a slow intravenous infusion starting at 0.5 mg/kg of ideal body weight. If you have little response to the initial treatment, the dosage will be increased up to a maximum of 0.75 mg/kg ideal body weight.
Each infusion lasts 45 minutes; after that it takes about another 45 minutes for you to feel back to normal. You must arrange to have someone take you home after treatment.
Booster Treatment Phase
After you finish your induction phase you might need booster infusions to maintain the effect. For some patients booster treatments are frequent. Some other patients never need one. It depends on how well the effects of IV ketamine last for you.
Risks and Contraindications
Patients with uncontrolled hypertension, severe heart disease, active psychosis, or in a manic phase of bipolar disorder, or are taking methamphetamines, cocaine or other stimulants should not receive ketamine treatment. Patients who are chronically taking benzodiazepines, such as xanax, valium, ativan, can have a blunted response to ketamine, and should have their mental health professional or primary physician see if they can decrease their dosage prior to treatment.
Paying for IV Ketamine
We work very hard to make IV ketamine as affordable as we can. We charge one of the lowest fees per treatment in Chicagoland. We have programs that let you spread your payments out over time. We’ve partnered with Advance Care, which offers a medical credit card that also lets you spread payments over time. You can find details on our costs page.