FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Here you can find many common questions our clients have about ketamine treatments.
What is ketamine?
Ketamine was developed more than 50 years ago as an anesthetic agent. Ketamine is a safe, effective and fast acting medication with few side effects. Physicians regularly use this medication on both pediatric and adult patients. More recently, intravenous (IV) ketamine has been proven to be a highly effective medication for the treatment of depression, anxiety, post- traumatic stress disorder and certain pain syndromes.
How do I get scheduled?
Please contact us to get started. First, we briefly discuss your history and your interest in ketamine therapy. If it looks like a possible fit for you ,we will schedule a free 15 minute consult with Dr. Van Praag, either in person or by phone. We typically require supporting information, such as a referral letter from your physician, or simply a letter from your treating physician stating your medical history and diagnosis to ensure you may safely receive ketamine therapy.
Will ketamine infusions work for me?
Although all patients are unique and results cannot be guaranteed, over 70% of patients with treatment resistant mood disorders can expect significant relief with ketamine infusions. For certain chronic pain conditions we also have a high success rate with relief from infusions. We customize each patient’s infusion dosage and frequency to maximize a positive and effective clinical response.
What is the treatment course
“Our patients begin with a series of 6 infusions over the course of 2 to 3 weeks. We find many patients need at least 3-4 infusions before they really start seeing a positive change in their mood. Some will require all 6 to see a change, and that is OK. Ketamine is not a cure and will likely require maintenance. This means patients will return for 1 or 2 booster infusions every 1-3 months. It is important to note, following a team approach with psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and self care regimen is extremely important to the success of these treatments. A wholistic approach extends the time of relief and can result in less frequent boosters.”
How do I get scheduled for my infusion?
Please contact us, to schedule your infusion. Your primary health provider can also refer you to the clinic.
What if I don't have a provider
We understand that some patients do not have a current provider, as previous treatments have possible failed. We do believe in a team approach and can suggest providers for you to contact.”
Will insurance cover my treatment?
Insurance company reimbursement for ketamine infusions vary widely. We require payment at the time of your infusion. If you would like to submit a claim to your insurance provider for reimbursement, we will provide you with the necessary documentation to aid in this process. Some of our patients have been successful recovering a portion of their out of pocket costs for treatment in our clinic.
Are there risks?
Ketamine is a very safe drug when used in a clinical setting at appropriate doses. As an anesthesiologist and registered nurse team, we safely provide optimal care tailored to each patient.
Will I have side effects?
Patients commonly admit to feeling tired following an infusion. Occasionally patients experience nausea or a transient headache, which is relieved by an additional anti-nausea medication or oral Tylenol/NSAIDs. Side effects from the infusion are typically short lived lasting usually only a few hours. There are no reported long term side effects with ketamine infusions.
Is ketamine addictive
Current studies do not demonstrate an addictive potential for ketamine when administered in a controlled and monitored environment.
Approximately 70% of patients positively respond to ketamine infusion therapy. We find success rates increase when patients participate in a wholistic approach to care. This includes attention to sleep habits, diet, exercise, psychotherapy, psychiatric care and personal support.
What can I expect during and after my infusion?
The first 15-20 minutes you may have no noticeable effects. Halfway through the infusion most patients begin to experience feelings described as: euphoria, floating, heightened perceptions, feeling disconnected, or in a dream.
How long will the results last?
Some patients achieve long-term relief after a single series of infusions. Some find that these infusions augment and enhance their existing oral medications and therapies. For resistant symptoms, for which ketamine infusions are the only effective treatment, most patients choose to begin a maintenance program, returning for single “booster” infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient.
What should I expect?
On the day of your infusion, you will arrive at our clinic and fill out a short consent form and assessment form. You will meet with Dr. Van Praag before each infusion. One of our experienced nurses will then start a small IV to provide access for the infusion. We pay attention to your comfort, providing a comfortable reclining chair, blankets, eye masks, white noise machine or music. It is possible to feel sensations such as euphoria, floating, heightened perceptions or in a dream-like state. These feelings will subside quickly once the infusion is complete. You should anticipate that the entire process will take approximately 90 minutes (longer for chronic pain infusions).
Ketamine compared to other treatments
Typical antidepressants may take weeks to months to work. These medications have many common side effects: weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, and emotional blunting to name a few. If depressive symptoms are resistant to traditional oral antidepressants or other therapies such as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) ketamine may be effective in up to 70% of patients.
Should I continue with my other mental health professionals?
Yes. We will work in concert with your primary care provider, as consultants, to individually tailor your treatment plan. This continued care is a key element in your pathway to better health. For those patients who so desire we can help coordinate consultation with one of our mental health experts.
I have preexisting medical conditions
We will review your medical history prior to your first infusion. There are some medical conditions that would preclude you from receiving a ketamine infusion. Some examples include uncontrolled blood pressure, unstable heart disease, intracranial mass, untreated thyroid disease, current manic phase of bipolar disorder, acute psychotic hallucinations/delusions. Please note it is important to discuss your entire medical history with us to ensure your safety.
How long are infusions
Infusions for mood disorders usually will last 40-55 minutes with 20 to 30 minutes of recovery time. For neuropathic pain and refractory headaches, the infusion will last 2-4 hours with approximately 60-90 minutes of recovery time.
Some medications may interfere with the efficacy of ketamine infusions. We will give you instructions on managing your medications prior to your infusion. Do not self-taper prescribed medications without medical advice.
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics) do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. Ketamine infusions can provide relief during the time it takes antidepressant medications to begin working. Important: You should not decrease or stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescribing physician.
We ask that you have someone bring you to your infusion and take you home. We advise you to avoid driving, operating heavy and or dangerous machinery, or conducting any significant business for 24 hours after the infusion. We also ask that you avoid eating any solid foods 4 hours prior to your infusion and to stop drinking clear liquids 2 hours prior to your infusion.