1. Do I need to be referred by a psychiatrist?
No. Your doctor will not require you to be referred by a psychiatrist. However, he or she may want to discuss your diagnosis and treatment to date with other doctors who have been seeing you.
2. Where is the treatment performed?
All treatment is outpatient and is performed in the professional offices of the New England Center for Healthy Minds.
3. Will Ketamine Therapy help my treatment resistant depression?
Based on searches of major medical centers over the past fifteen years, and in our experience, up to 70% of all patients can expect significant, and fast, relief. Of course, we cannot predict any individual’s results. Our treatment is tailored in terms of frequency and dosage to each person, and we believe it offers your best chance of success.
4. How many ketamine infusions will I receive?
That will depend on your response. Most patients receive a series of six infusions.
5. What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?
Following the initial series of infusions, most patients choose, in consultation with their doctors, to begin a maintenance program, returning for single infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient.
6. If ketamine therapy works for me how soon will I begin to feel better?
Some patients will begin to feel better within hours of the first infusion. Patients with thoughts of self-harm often notice those thoughts dissipating first. There can be a dramatic relief of dread and hopelessness. Other patients may not notice any mood improvement until the next day. Some patients will require a second (or even a third) infusion before feeling better.
7. Will I require ketamine infusions for the rest of my life?
No. Some patients seem to achieve long-term relief after a series of infusions.
8. What should I expect during ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is administered over a period of 40 minutes. The dose is determined by your weight. The amount of ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you will remain awake. During the infusion some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative”, or “out of body” experience. These are side effects of ketamine that may be important for ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly dissipate. There are no delayed “flashbacks,” and patients generally leave the office within 30 minutes following the infusion and feel quite normal.
9. Are there other side effects I should be concerned about?
Occasionally patients experience some nausea following an infusion. If so, there is medication that will help. More rarely, a patient may experience a transient headache. Patients can expect to be tired following the infusion. Very, very rarely, patients already at risk for seizure have reportedly experienced one. If you have a seizure disorder, please be sure to discuss it with your doctor prior to receiving ketamine therapy.
10. I am bi-polar, will ketamine make me hypomanic?
Hypomania has not been reported following ketamine therapy.
11. What medical conditions could keep me from receiving ketamine?
There are very few. Your Neuragain provider will discuss contraindications with you before you receive your first infusion.
12. Are ketamine infusions addictive?
13. Do I need to bring someone with me?
You do not need to have someone bring you or accompany you during the infusion, but we request that you have someone bring you home. We advise you not to drive a car until the following morning.
14. Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
You cannot eat for the 4 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. You may have clear liquids up until 2 hours before your appointment.
15. Will my current psychiatric medications interfere with ketamine treatment?
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.
16. Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?
Because ketamine therapy for mood and anxiety disorders is recent and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.