What is Ketamine?
Ketamine in an anesthetic developed in the early 1960’s. It is one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine, and is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. It has a variety of medical uses and is FDA-approved as an anesthetic. Ketamine has a remarkably safe track record in surgical settings and is frequently used in pediatric surgery. It is also commonly used to treat the extreme physical pain of a condition called CRPS/RSD.
The US military has used ketamine as a battlefield anesthetic since the Vietnam War. Ketamine is also used in veterinary medicine. Ketamine has been found to be effective in treating many conditions as a surgical anesthetic, and has only been approved by the FDA to be marketed as such.
Ketamine’s use outside of that as an anesthetic is considered “off label.” It is estimated that almost 1/4 of all prescription medications sold in the United States are prescribed off label. In the US, ketamine is listed as a DEA Schedule III drug.
How does Ketamine work?
Ketamine has been shown to stimulate neuron growth in the brain in as quickly as one hour. Many scientists studying Ketamine are focusing on the neurotransmitter glutamate, which plays an important role in neural activation.
Is this a real medical treatment?
Ketamine treatment is an intravenous infusion procedure performed in a specially-equipped medical office by a member of the Revitalist Team, a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist.
The National Institute of Mental Health has been studying ketamine’s effect on depression for more than fifteen years. There is scholarly research behind this treatment, which means controlled, double-blind, peer-reviewed studies at major institutions.
Researchers at Yale pioneered this research nearly 20 years ago and published the first major study in 2000. Since then, countless more ketamine studies have been conducted at Yale and other major institutions including NIH, The VA, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Mt. Sinai Medical School, Oxford University, and many more around the world.
How soon will my symptoms improve?
More than 70% of patients with treatment-resistant depression (including bipolar patients) experience rapid relief after a low-dose ketamine infusion. Similar success rates have been seen in returning combat veterans suffering from PTSD.
These patients’ cases are the worst of the worst, lasting years or even decades, which have not responded to any other treatments. Many have hovered on the verge of suicide for years, many have actually attempted suicide, and all have endured a very poor quality of life. Before ketamine therapy, there was virtually no way to substantially improve the condition of patients like these.
The fact that ketamine works rapidly on more than 70% of them is astonishing, and its discovery has profoundly changed depression research, and our understanding of the very nature of depression. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that the degree of relief can vary among patients.
Some sufferers get only partial relief, some do not get relief until completion of the infusion series, and some do not respond to ketamine at all. Some patients have additional medical conditions and/or take outside prescribed medications that can reduce its effectiveness.
Will I be asleep?
You will be awake. The Ketamine Infusion dosage is not high enough to cause you to fall asleep, but you may feel a bit drowsy during and shortly after the treatment.
Are there any medications that will interfere with the treatment?
There are medications and drugs, both legal and illicit, that will reduce the effectiveness of ketamine. Please be sure to inform us all of medications and supplements you take. We will work with your prescribing provider in coordinating your care.
How long will I need to undergo treatment?
Length of treatment is individual to each patient and can vary a great deal between patients. Most patients respond to ketamine within their initiation series. This means relief of the physical symptoms that make depression/anxiety/PTSD/pain so unbearable: anhedonia, physical fatigue, dysphoria, cognitive impairment, insomnia, etc.
But there’s more to it than that. When the physical symptoms are relieved, that can also trigger a dramatic improvement in mood. It can help patients feel healthy, function normally, and stop feeling negative about themselves, sometimes for the first time in decades.
Even if the physical symptoms begin to return, many patients find they can withstand them with more resilience than before, instead of retreating to the fetal position each time new stress or obstacle arises. This improvement in mood and function can last longer than the physical symptom relief.
What are the common side effects?
The most commonly reported side effects include mild nausea, drowsiness, and a temporary increase in blood pressure. The Revitalist staff will closely monitor your blood pressure and heart rate throughout the course of the infusion.
During the treatment, you will experience something called a dissociative effect. Most patients describe the experience with words like relaxing, floating, and pleasant. This “dream-like” state feeling quickly subsides after the treatment is over, allowing you to leave with your driver after your appointment is complete.
Are there health risks?
Ketamine is typically well-tolerated and we are not aware of any significant adverse reactions at the low dose used for this treatment. At the higher doses used in operating rooms, Ketamine has been known to cause hallucinations, as well as other cognitive distortions. Use of Ketamine by people with conditions such as unstable heart disease risk aggravating these conditions. It is of utmost importance that you fill out the medical questionnaire fully and truthfully, so we can properly evaluate whether you are medically appropriate for the treatment.
When ketamine is administered in a controlled medical setting by a properly trained provider using established methods, it is very safe. Ketamine is the only anesthetic that does not suppress the body’s cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It does have the potential to elevate heart rate and blood pressure, so the patient’s vitals must be monitored during treatment.
Using illegally-obtained ketamine on your own, without a doctor’s supervision, is a different matter. There’s no assurance the substance you’re taking is actually ketamine at all, or that it hasn’t been mixed with other substances. And since ketamine is an anesthetic capable of sedating patients during major surgery, you can seriously injure yourself while under its influence if you are not in a controlled medical setting. If you are contemplating taking “street” ketamine in hopes of relieving your depression, keep in mind that the antidepressant effect depends on it being administered in a very precise, controlled way that you cannot achieve in a recreational setting.
How Much Does This Cost?
What is the cost of the consultation?
FREE 60 minute consultation with one of our lead nurse anesthesiologists.
Intake Fee – $99
MOOD PROTOCOLS – $474
40-minute Ketamine Infusion coupled with Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.
These infusions are indicated for depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and suicidal.
The typical recommendation is six infusions over a 2-3-week period.
2-Hour Ketamine Infusion coupled with Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
These infusions are often indicated for patients suffering from mood and pain syndromes that co-exist. – $600
4-Hour Ketamine Infusion
These infusions are indicated for those suffering from chronic pain conditions that are primarily neuropathic in nature. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Migraine, Diabetic Neuropathy, Post-Herpetic Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, and other treatment-resistant conditions. – $800
Will my insurance company reimburse the cost?
Although ketamine infusions are not covered by insurance at this time, we still do offer complete itemized documentation (Superbill) for you to submit to your insurance company following the treatment series for possible medical reimbursement. Some clients have had success in achieving partial reimbursement. Please allow 5-7 business days for this to be completed by our billing specialists. The cost of this service is $50.
Is there a referral or rewards program for current patients?
Yes. Refer a new patient that proceeds with treatment and receive a one-time 10% off any wellness service including vitamin infusion, acupuncture, or massage.
Do you prescribe Ketamine nasal spray?
We prescribe and administer Esketamine (Spravato) within our clinic according to the FDA guidelines. We do not prescribe any ketamine for outside or home use.
Do you do Ketamine intramuscular injections?
Revitalist recommends Ketamine infusions due to the abundance of research demonstrating the effectiveness in managing the symptoms of depression, suicidal ideations, anxiety, trauma, or pain syndromes. As there is a lack of lasting or substantial benefits in the administration of ketamine via the intramuscular route, Revitalist does not give ketamine this way.
Can my regular doctor easily refer patients to Revitalist?
The Revitalist Provider Portal allows your doctor to quite easily, and with much attention to privacy, refer you for consultation. Should you receive treatment, we will communicate with your existing provider(s) regarding your care.