What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an injectable, short-acting anesthetic dissociative anesthetic that got its start in Belgium in the 1960’s. It was approved by the FDA in the United States in 1970 and since then, ketamine has been used extensively for pediatric and adult treatment in surgery, emergency departments, ambulances, trauma medicine, and war zones. Unlike with other anesthetics, patients don’t need to be on a ventilator.
The World Health Organization now lists ketamine as one of the most essential medications due to its therapeutic effects and wide margin of safety.
Ketamine's Chemical Structure
Ketamine cultivates new nerve cell connections
An amino acid called Glutamate which is one of the brain’s key neurotransmitters, stimulates the connections between neurons and acts with another important neurotransmitter, GABA, to maintain a healthy nervous system. An imbalance between the two can cause a deficiency in vital connections between neurons which is associated with depression and other mood disorders as well as difficulties with sleep
Ketamine blocks a receptor called NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) which begins a series of events that increases glutamate and stimulates the growth of new receptors and synapses that reconnect neurons in the brain. Ketamine has been shown to stimulate neuron growth in the brain in as quickly as one hour.
The National Institute of Mental Health has been studying ketamine’s effect on depression for more than fifteen years. There is scientific 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.
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.
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.
Ketamine treatment is an intravenous infusion procedure performed in a specially equipped medical office by a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist.
You will be awake, but you may feel a bit drowsy during and shortly after the treatment.
There are some 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. Revitalist will work with your prescribing provider in coordinating your care.
Depending on the treatment, the length can vary. Please check with a team member at Revitalist when booking your appointment. Additional information can be found here.
Typically, Ketamine treatments occur once a week over 6 weeks.
The most commonly reported side effects include drowsiness, mild nausea, 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.
Ketamine is typically well-tolerated, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers have found that low-dose ketamine infusions are relatively free of side effects. 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 in hopes of relieving your depression without a doctor’s supervision, is not recommended. The antidepressant effect of Ketamine depends on it being administered in a very precise, controlled way that you cannot achieve in a recreational setting.
Although ketamine itself is not typically covered by insurance, other services during your visit may still be covered. Please contact your insurance provider.
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.
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.
The Revitalist Provider Portal allows your doctor to easily and confidentially, refer you for consultation. Should you receive treatment, we will communicate with your existing provider(s) regarding your care.