Ketamine FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Ketamine is a medication that was originally developed as an anesthetic in the 1960s. It is a dissociative drug, meaning that it can cause a person to feel detached from their surroundings or their own body. In recent years, researchers have discovered that low doses of ketamine can have a profound and rapid antidepressant effect, leading to its use in the treatment of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Ketamine is typically administered via an intravenous (IV) infusion over a period of 40-60 minutes under the supervision of a trained medical professional. While the exact mechanism of action is not fully understood, ketamine has been shown to increase the production of a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which promotes the growth and survival of neurons in the brain, and to help regulate the activity of the glutamate neurotransmitter system, which is involved in mood regulation.

That will depend on your response. Most patients receive a series of six treatments.

Some patients will begin to feel better within hours of the first treatment. 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) treatment before feeling better.

Because ketamine infusion therapy is an off-label treatment and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.

There are very few. Our staff will discuss contraindications with you before you receive your first treatment.

You may not have anything to eat four (4) hours prior to your infusion appointment or have anything to drink two (2) hours prior to the infusion appointment. You may not eat or drink two (2) hours prior to an oral ketamine appointment.

No. Although ketamine is metabolized rapidly, thinking may be impaired for up to 24 hours after an infusion. For your safety, we require that you have a driver confirmed BEFORE starting the infusion. For the next 24 hours after your infusion, we advise refraining from strenuous activity, watching small children, operating machinery, or entering into legal contracts.

When used alongside psychotherapy, the primary goal of ketamine treatment is to reduce symptoms and develop long-term strategies to prevent relapse. By repairing and enhancing neural connectivity in the brain, ketamine can lead to rapid and lasting symptom relief. It can also help patients address the emotional pain associated with traumatic experiences or memories, enabling them to more comfortably confront the root causes of their condition. Additionally, ketamine can alleviate uncomfortable feelings that may otherwise hinder a patient’s ability to understand or cope with their fears and emotional distress. Combining psychotherapy with ketamine treatment can facilitate the learning and implementation of effective coping strategies, potentially reducing the need for ongoing treatment or medication.

No. We ask that you provide us with any type of documentation you have concerning your diagnoses, past treatment, adverse reactions to medications, and current medications. We recommend informing your physician and or therapist about your plans to start ketamine infusions or other treatments.

You will be evaluated by our medical director or another licensed physician prior to initiating ketamine treatment.

InfuseRVA does not require you to receive therapeutic services, however, we strongly recommend maintaining a relationship with a therapist throughout your treatment course.

Occasionally patients experience some nausea following a treatment. 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 treatment. 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.

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