Ketamine, also known as Ketalar, is a medication that’s currently FDA approved as an anesthetic and analgesic; however, research and trials have shown potential as a treatment for severe depression, PTSD, chronic pain, and other medical conditions. According to the trials and research, Ketamine can have a rapid effect, when it comes to helping relieve persistent symptoms. Often times, symptom reduction can occur within hours of an infusion. Providers are currently prescribing ketamine for depression off-label. Prescribing off-label medicine is common practice in the industry and is legal. In fact, 20% of the medicines prescribed are off-label drugs.
Ketamine triggers reactions in the cortex that enable brain connections to regrow. This effect is a result of the reaction to ketamine and not the presence of ketamine in the body. Yale research labs showed that the drug ketamine triggers glutamate production, which, in a complex, cascading series of events, prompts the brain to form new neural connections. This makes the brain more adaptable and able to create new pathways and gives patients the opportunity to develop more positive thoughts and behaviors. Medical professionals had not been seen this effect before, even with traditional antidepressants.
Ketamine is being used to treat patients with depression and suicidal ideation successfully. The onset of action, when given IV, in seconds.
Ketamine has shown promise in quickly reducing symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression and bipolar depression. Several small clinical trials have shown that a single subanesthetic dose of ketamine, 0.5mg/kg infused over 40 minutes, produces a quick antidepressant response within 2 to 4 hours of administration. This antidepressant effect may reach the highest impact 24 hours after infusion and last up to 7 days.
Ketamine offers many advantages to patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression and bipolar depression. These include a novel mechanism of action, a fast antidepressant effect, and the absence of some known antidepressant adverse effects (weight changes, sexual dysfunction).
Dr. Thomas Insel, MD of the National Health Institute, mentioned in his article that “ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
We will set up a thorough screening process to assess a patient’s condition before recommending treatment. Each patient will receive a personalized care plan to ensure that we design the treatment that suits his or her condition. However, if we believe that a patient should not undergo ketamine therapy, we will provide consultation and guide the patient to an alternative treatment.
Depending on the treatment plan, each session will last about an hour. The number of sessions will depend on the patient’s assessed condition and treatment plan. The session will take place in a private room, where the patient can either choose to have his/her family member(s) present. We will do our best to make the patients experience safe, comfortable, and soothing.