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Ketamine acts differently from other mood improvement and pain medications, SSRIs, tricyclics, MAOI inhibitors, benzodiazepines, and other antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications. It also works by a completely different mechanism than opioids and Gabapentin / Lyrica medication. Ketamine infusion results in the re-wiring of neural pathways. Studies suggest that pain and depression are significantly decreased once these pathways have been reset to healthier formats.
During the treatment, you may experience something called a dissociative effect. Patients describe the experience with words like “relaxing,” “floating,” and “pleasant.” The initial dose is based on multiple factors and may be adjusted in later infusions to maximize individual results.
One of the brain’s key neurotransmitters is glutamate, an amino acid found in 80% of neurons. Glutamate influences the formation and number of brain synapses – the vital connections between neurons. Glutamate acts with another important neurotransmitter, GABA, to maintain a healthy, well-functioning nervous system. An imbalance between GABA and glutamate can cause problems, including anxiety, difficulties with sleep, overstimulation and issues with focus. Imbalance in the glutamatergic system is also associated with major depressive disorder (MDD). Utilizing it’s affinity for a separate receptor called NMDA, growing evidence suggests that ketamine helps rebalance the glutamate system by acting as a receptor “antagonist”.
Ketamine works by blocking the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor, one of three major glutamate receptors. This receptor is involved in synaptic plasticity and memory function, among other functions. A ketamine-induced blockade of the NMDA receptor results in an increase in glutamate. This initiates a cascade of neurobiological events that researchers believe is a key reason behind ketamine’s rapid antidepressant effects.
With chronic pain, a phenomenon known as “central sensitization” is believed to intensify pain by increasing the number of NMDA receptors – this ends up amplifying the pain signal. Ketamine’s interference with the NMDA receptor helps block and “reset” pain signaling, providing relief where other treatments have failed. By blocking the NMDA receptors of peripheral nerves, peripheral nerve pain transmission is intercepted before reaching the spinal cord and brain. This allows for “rebooting” of central pain centers and desensitization to peripheral pain signals.
Yes. Ketamine will not put you to sleep. If you are already sleepy and are feeling very calm and relaxed during the treatment, you might drift off for a short nap. People are able to move freely during the treatment.
Ketamine Infusion can be tremendously beneficial for many people with serious illness, but just as with any other medical therapy or procedure, there are some individuals with specific medical conditions who would not be appropriate candidates for this type of therapy. These conditions would be:
- Uncontrolled blood pressure, unstable heart disease, untreated thyroid disease, active intoxication with abusive substances, current manic phase of bipolar disorder, or active psychotic (hallucinations or delusions) symptoms
- A recent heart attack – less than 6 months ago
- A recent stroke – less than 1 year ago
- Uncontrolled seizures, hyperthyroidism, glaucoma, severe liver or kidney disease
- Active manic or psychotic symptoms
- Hypersensitivity (allergy) to ketamine
- No support person to take you home from the clinic or care for you at home
Patients with such serious medical conditions would be evaluated by our questionnaire and either disqualified or asked to obtain consultations before treatment.
Ketamine has shown to increase the effectiveness of other medications, and there are very few negative interactions. For treatment planning purposes, please contact us with any questions regarding interactions between your current medications and ketamine.
We recommend that clients temporarily reduce dosage of certain medications during therapy such as, benzodiazepines, in order to achieve maximized results. This DOES NOT mean you shouldn’t receive ketamine treatment while taking benzodiazepines. It is perfectly safe; we just want to guarantee the best results for each patient.
No. Some patients achieve long-term relief after one series of infusions. Others will find that infusions enhance the impact of antidepressants or provide initial relief that is then sustained by oral medicines, other therapies and lifestyle choices.
After the initial series of infusions, ketamine restores the brain to a healthy balance. Follow-up or “booster” infusions are provided on an as-needed basis for maintenance.
No. Patients have not reported any symptoms of addiction. In fact, we use ketamine to treat addiction, as it has been found to be remarkably effective in preventing withdrawal symptoms and drug, alcohol, or medication cravings.
We accept all major credit cards and cash/check. We also offer interest free credit card payments to assist our patients with financing.
You MUST bring a Government-Issued photo ID with you for each appointment.
- You will be required to have a trusted friend or family member drive you home after your infusion.
- You cannot drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours post treatment.
- Please wear comfortable loose clothing, so we are able to easily place the cardiac monitor leads under your shirt.
- You may bring headphones and listen to music of your choosing, preferably something soothing to you. Otherwise, noise cancelling, wireless, bluetooth headphones will be provided.
- Infusion times vary depending on the disease we are treating.
- You are encouraged to sit back and relax and pay attention to what you are feeling.