Unlike traditional antidepressant medications that target serotonin receptors, ketamine works on the glutamate system by binding to NMDA receptors in the brain. With the increased production of glutamate, other neurotransmitters are reactivated, which helps new, healthy neural pathways to form. Where traditional medications take 4-6 weeks to help symptoms, ketamine infusions may work within hours!
Ketamine, when administered by a medical professional, is not addictive. Similar to other beneficial drugs ketamine can be abused recreationally to achieve a “high” when placed in the wrong hands. Despite this, ketamine is a non-addictive substance at its core. In addition, when administered at a ketamine clinic, patients receive a much lower dose than what would be needed to get high. We are careful to ensure that ketamine is administered under clinic supervision at our office and is never sent home with patients as a prescription drug.
Although everyone is different, ketamine has been proven effective in 70% of patients. Therefore, if you suffer from psychiatric or chronic pain disorders, the likelihood of ketamine infusion therapy working is greater than not. Unlike traditional medications for depression, ketamine infusions provide relief within 1-2 sessions. Some patients even find relief from their symptoms within a few hours of their first infusion!
For both psychiatric and chronic pain conditions, we recommend an initial series of 4-6 infusions over a 3 week period. Studies have shown that initial ketamine infusions are most effective within a short time frame. After the initial series of infusions, patients may need maintenance infusions monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annually, or annually. Your provider will decide which schedule is best for your specific situation.
Ketamine is not a replacement for other medications unless medically advised otherwise. Prior to your first infusion, we will review your medications to ensure there are no unwanted interactions between medications. In most cases, ketamine is an addition — not a replacement — for antidepressants, psychotherapy, or pain management medications.
The first step in getting started with ketamine infusions with Jirah Anesthesia is to contact us for a free over the phone consultation. During this time, we will review your symptoms, diagnoses, and goals. If you are a possible ketamine therapy candidate we will set up a more thorough evaluation with our certified psychiatric nurse practitioner. She will discuss treatments that you have tried in the past to further determine whether or not you are a candidate for ketamine infusion therapy. Once your intake forms are submitted, we will schedule you for your first ketamine infusion session.
Prior to your session, do not eat or drink for 6-hours. (You may have water up to 2 hours prior to appointment) Once in the treatment room, we will apply monitors, set your IV, and start your infusion. The infusion will last about 40 minutes, and you will remain awake and alert throughout the entire process. However, if you are receiving treatment for chronic pain, your session may last up to 4 hours. Some patients choose to relax and listen to music whereas others may relax in silence.