Frequently Asked Questions
Common Questions About Ketamine Treatment
Originally used as a tranquilizing agent, Ketamine has recently been found to be effective for the treatment of a number of psychiatric conditions, including, but not limited to therapy-resistant depression (TRD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and bipolar disorder. Its mechanism of action is unclear at this time, but it appears to somehow allow for the neurocircuitry of the brain to rewire itself by increasing brain plasticity.
We welcome patients that suffer from therapy-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety amongst other issues. Any issue that your licensed mental healthcare provider thinks may benefit from treatment will be considered. We accept pain patients who are currently under the care of a pain management specialist.
No. However, for best outcomes, patients should be under the care of a licensed mental healthcare professional. If they do not have one, we have excellent counselors and therapists to which we can refer them. We will work closely with your therapist in order to ensure that therapy is effective and to address any adjustments that may need to be made in your treatment regimen.
The infusion itself will last about an hour. You will be conscious during this process. We suggest you allow 2 hours from the time of arrival for the whole process. Prior to initiating treatment, we will review your treatment plan and get you comfortable. After the infusion is complete, recovery usually will take about 20 minutes, but may take longer.
Yes, certain anti-anxiety medications can decrease the effectiveness of treatment, and your therapeutic regimen may need to be adjusted for that. However, it is not recommended or needed for you to stop taking medication you are already prescribed to receive your infusion of ketamine.
You will initially have 6 treatments over the course of 2-3 weeks. These are called a “stabilization series.” Afterwards, you will need to return for maintenance infusions to maintain the effectiveness of the ketamine therapy. The frequency with which you will need a maintenance infusion differs for each patient. One infusion every 1-3 months is most common.
There are few medical conditions that will keep you from receiving a ketamine infusion. Pregnant patients and patients in acute psychosis or mania cannot receive ketamine therapy. Patients with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart failure will need to be managed before we can treat you.
We understand the urgency many patients feel in their desire to find relief from their symptoms, so we aim to see patients quickly. The process to begin infusions will require a consultation with Dr. Gasper. Typically, we are able to see you within 1-4 business days. If you are a candidate for ketamine therapy and wish to proceed, we will book all 6 of your infusions to secure your schedule, and your first infusion will typically begin 1-4 business days after your consultation.
No, we do not accept Medicare or any other insurance plans. Because ketamine is an off-label drug, insurance companies usually will not cover its use for treating depression. We will be able to provide you with documentation regarding what was performed so that you may try to obtain reimbursement from your insurance company. Payment is due prior to commencement of infusion. We accept credit card, cashiers check or money orders only, no checks. We also offer financing through third party services.
Prior to your first infusion, we will email you a detailed guide on what to expect and how to prepare. You want to be well hydrated, wear comfy clothes, and make sure you have a friend or family member scheduled to take you home.
You will be seated in a comfortable recliner in a private room. You will have an IV placed in your hand or arm for the delivery of ketamine. Once you are ready, the infusion will begin. It takes about 5 minutes to begin to feel the effects. You may feel disconnected from your body and the room around you. Your mind may experience sounds and visuals more acutely. No two experiences are the same, but generally, this is a pleasant experience for patients and quite relaxing. During the course of the infusion, your vital signs will be continuously monitored. Some possible side effects include blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, and a sense of floating.
We ask that you schedule or cancel your appointment 24 hours in advance if you will be unable to make it. Patients who no-show are subject to a $50 fee.
The majority of providers who have extensive experience with ketamine work in anesthesia or emergency medicine. Even though ketamine is a very safe medication, patient safety during the treatment requires a qualified and experienced provider who can respond to emergencies.
The safety of ketamine has been demonstrated repeatedly over the last five decades; however, not all patients are ideal candidates for this treatment. Please contact us to arrange for a free consultation so that we can learn more about your medical history.
No, you cannot drive after receiving an infusion. You will be required by our clinic to have a driver on your infusion days. The driver can be a family member or a trusted friend or neighbor, someone to get you to and from our clinic safely. You also should not operate heavy machinery, make significant decisions or enter into contracts for the 24 hours after infusion.
Please do not have anything to eat for 3 hours prior to your scheduled infusion time. You may drink clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to your scheduled infusion time. You may eat and drink as you wish after release.
The ketamine will be administered by a Medical Doctor who will also be monitoring you during the course of the infusion.
Side effects are relatively uncommon due to safety precautions and the use of low-dose ketamine for our infusions. Although not typical, side effects may include a mild increase in blood pressure and heart rate, light-headedness, temporary blurred vision, the sensation of floating, euphoria, dysphoria, and nausea. At our clinic, each patient is monitored continuously with each infusion; heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation. You will be given medications to treat any side effects such as nausea, for instance. Currently, there is no data documenting long-term side effects with low doses of ketamine administered for short periods of time.