Frequently Asked Questions
Ketamine was synthesized in the 1960s and is FDA-approved for procedural sedation and anesthesia. Ketamine is a medicine historically used for anesthesia during surgeries and medical procedures in operating and emergency rooms world-wide. Ketamine is also being used "off-label" to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain disorders. This medication has a long track record for safety when used appropriately by trained providers.
The exact mechanism of how ketamine works in depression, anxiety, and chronic pain is not fully known. However, we do know that ketamine works on the NMDA receptor to block the glutamate neurotransmitter. And scientific study is showing ketamine improves the health of the neurons (brain cells) by increasing the connections between the neurons and improving the brain’s ability to adapt (aka neuroplasticity).
Ketamine also changes the way the central nervous system processes pain to restore normal pain processing. Research studies have shown the potential for ketamine to increase resilience and recovery from stressful traumatic events which can trigger or cause depression and anxiety disorders.
In addition, ketamine decreases activity in the Default Mode Network (DMN) of the brain, which is more active in those with depression, anxiety, and chronic pain.
Ketamine infusions may be for you if you suffer from anxiety or depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or pain disorders. Many who have not found relief from traditional oral medications for these disorders often benefit from ketamine infusions. This may be for you if you want to avoid side effects of more traditional treatments or if current treatments are not working for you.
Ketamine has a long track record of being a safe FDA-approved anesthetic since 1970. Addiction has not been found in individuals who receive ketamine infusion therapy at the dosing, treatment, & schedule in the appropriate setting with trained healthcare professionals.
Yes. Ketamine is also called “Special K”, “Kit Kat”, or “K”. However, ketamine IV therapy is not used at the dose, duration, intention, mindset, setting, and method which individuals abuse on the street.
We will review the documentation from your primary care, pain specialist, psychiatrist, or therapist related to your diagnosis and past treatment. You will be required to continue regular ongoing contact with them during and after your ketamine infusions. We will contact them to confirm your diagnosis. Then we will contact you and schedule your appointment. We also require you to sign a release of information in order to obtain your records
Yes. We are serving in a consulting capacity to provide this infusion and recommend continuing to see your physician.
Three main reasons not all providers use Ketamine:
- Comfort level of administering the medication
- General awareness of this treatment
- Acceptance of this treatment
Outside of the emergency and operating rooms, few other medical specialists are comfortable with administering this treatment. Many doctors are not educated on the latest research about ketamine, and only recognize it as an anesthetic or street drug use. While there are some doctors who don’t know about this treatment, there are others who are used to conventional treatment model and not ready to accept this novel treatment. At, Zora Neurospa, we are trained and have years of experience administering Ketamine.
The experience is unique among individuals, even among those with the same diagnosis. Some patients report feeling like they are in a dream or feel mildly sedated. Some feel like they have changes in their thought processes, vision, and/or speech. If you experience unwanted sensations or unpleasant hallucinations, we may decrease the amount of the medication or how fast we infuse it to minimize these experiences. Remember, there will always be a healthcare professional close by making sure you are safe and well taken care of during your infusion.
Many patients recover 15-30 minutes after the infusion. You may feel a little tired, notice a mild difficulty in walking, or even “cloudy thinking” for a few hours after. We advise you to take it easy and have a relaxing day following the infusion. We will make sure you are ready and safe after your infusion, before we let you go home.
Ketamine is a dissociative drug, meaning that some people will have an out of body experience. It can also cause nausea, vomiting, and fatigue afterwards. In some cases, it can raise temporarily blood pressure and pulse. Accordingly, we will monitor you closely at all times and trained healthcare professionals will be readily available at your side. One long-term side effect is bladder irritation (AKA cystitis) after chronic use of ketamine.
For mood disorders, the infusion will be administered over 40 minutes. However, the appointment may take up to an hour and a half to two hours due to the recuperation time after the infusion. For pain disorders, the ketamine infusions are for a longer time period and can be up to 4 hours.
A single infusion typically lasts anywhere from a few days to a month. A series of 4 – 6 infusions may last anywhere from weeks to months, and often a single booster infusion when effects are wearing off can restore and extend response. Every patient responds differently, and some patients get several months of relief with just a few infusions. We have seen great success with ketamine treatment, however, we cannot guarantee successful results.
Ketamine infusion treatments occur in 2 steps: the Initiation and Maintenance steps. We recognize everyone is different and unique despite their similar diagnoses. Therefore, we tailor each treatment protocol to the individual based on your experience and reaction to the medication.
At Zora Neurospa, treatment infusion can be 40 minutes to 2 hours depending upon what we are treating and tailored to each patient. After the infusion there we will monitor you until it is safe for you to go home. Some factors include:
- Medical problems
- Ability to tolerate the ketamine dissociative experience
- Ability to lay back for prolonged periods of time
- Bladder control
- Severity & intensity of pain
- Financial/timing/availability of patient
We recommend fasting at least 4 hours prior to your first infusion. This will reduce the risk of nausea or vomiting. Drinking water a few hours before treatment is ok.
Comfortable clothing. You are welcome to bring your own pillow or blanket.
No. Ketamine can affect your ability to drive, so it is mandatory that a trusted friend or family member picks you up from your appointments. We also recommend refraining from operating heavy machinery, caring for small children, participating in strenuous activities, or signing or entering into any legal contracts for at least a day after your infusion.
If you are unable to find a friend or family member to transport your home, we will allow you to take a ridesharing service or Uber home.
There are a few select medications which cannot be taken in combination with ketamine. Please contact us so we can answer questions and discuss these medications with you. There are some medications if taken during your infusion, may reduce the effect such as benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, etc.) and lamotrigine (Lamictal). We advise weaning your dose at your prescribing doctor’s direction prior to your first treatment. If you are unable to be off the medication, we recommend not taking the medication the night before or day of your infusion. Please restart your medications the night of your infusion or the following day.
Yes. If you are experiencing the following:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Unstable heart disease (arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, chest pain etc.)
- Untreated thyroid disease
- Active substance abuse
- Active manic phase of bipolar disorder
- Untreated glaucoma
- Active delusions and hallucination symptoms (not on meds or while taking street drugs)
- Active infection (flu, cold, pneumonia)
If you have any of the above the day of your infusions, you unfortunately will not be able to receive your infusion.
It depends upon the diagnosis, but research shows improvement in 70-80% of patients who are treated with ketamine for depression.
For some people they can experience positive effects within an hour of finishing the infusion. For others, they will not notice an effect until after their fourth or fifth infusion. Commonly the effect is gradual and subtle, noticing thoughts of sadness and hopelessness, or anxiety begin to reduce in magnitude and go away. Occasionally some people may have a dramatic effect. Function (going out, doing things you enjoy, work) improve before mood does. With improved function you can more fully participate and engage in your treatment plan, thereby improving your success rate.
- Intravenous (IV) Ketamine Infusion $350
- Intramuscular (IM) Injection Ketamine $200
- Intravenous (IV) Ketamine Infusion (for pain management) $750
www.askp.org for more information.
Not directly, HOWEVER, you may be able to submit the bill to your insurance company to get some of the codes covered, or have it applied to your deductible.