Absolutely. Ketamine has been used safely for decades in emergency rooms, operating rooms, and in the military around the world. At avIVa, we have extensive knowledge and a deep understanding of ketamine and know how to carefully administer it. The dose is low and given as a slow infusion so you remain awake. As we are expert anesthesia providers, you can trust that you are in good hands. We vigilantly monitor your infusions and know how to manage the extreme rare event of a complication. When administered by a highly trained anesthesia provider, ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment for mood disorders and chronic pain.
Ketamine is approved by the FDA for use as an anesthetic and analgesic in the setting of operating rooms and emergency departments. Outpatient ketamine treatment for depression, along with PTSD, anxiety, OCD, postpartum depression, and bipolar disorder are not approved by the FDA. When it is used in this way, it is considered an “off-label” use of the medicine.
A meta-analysis of multiple research studies has demonstrated that 70% or more of treatment resistant patients will experience significant symptom relief after receiving the initial round of six low-dose infusions. This is a drastic improvement compared to the 40% success rate of traditional antidepressant medications. However, even with such a high success rate, it is important to note that ketamine therapy does not work for everyone.
While the majority of patients will experience notable symptom relief after their first infusion, others may experience a more gradual improvement. This is a dramatic difference compared to the typical 6-8 week onset of most oral antidepressant medications. Our pain patients usually have symptom relief after their first infusion series.
Research has shown that an initial series of 6 infusions given over a two-three week period provides the greatest symptom relief for our mental health patients. You will then enter the “maintenance phase” and return for booster infusions when you feel that the effects of the ketamine are starting to wear off.
Our pain patients receive an initial series of 4 infusion days. These can be scheduled consecutively or every other day. Some of our pain patients may need a series of up to 10 consecutive days to experience the greatest relief. Once your loading doses are complete, you will then enter the “maintenance phase” and return for boosters as needed.
Every patient is unique. The duration of relief between infusions varies from person to person. Some patients will have relief for 1-2 months while others have longer lasting relief of 3-6 months. They are available as you feel they are needed. This is why ongoing mood monitoring is so important.
Ketamine infusions are extremely well tolerated. It is possible, though uncommon, to experience dizziness or mild nausea. We have IV anti-nausea medications that we can give you if you need them at any time. Hallucinations are a frequent concern, however, with the low doses used, it is extremely rare.
Unless otherwise specified by your doctor, you should continue to take your regular medications. Ketamine therapy often enables one to decrease or completely stop their oral medications. We will collaborate with your provider to guide you through any changes to your medication regimen.
If you prefer to bring someone, they are welcome, but you do not need anyone to accompany you. If you do bring someone, they are welcome to wait in the waiting room or join you in the infusion room. However, even if you arrive alone, you will still require a ride home and will not be able to drive a car for the rest of the day.
Your phone consultation with the provider typically lasts about 20-45 minutes. We use this time to answer all your questions and concerns, determine if you are an appropriate candidate for ketamine therapy, and formulate a treatment plan for you. Your first ketamine infusion visit will last around 1.5 hours- 2 hours for mental health and 5 hours for pain infusions. Subsequent visits are usually around 90 minutes for mental health infusions. Ketamine infusions last 40 minutes for mental health and 4 hours for pain. You will need to recover from the treatment prior to leaving our office. That includes drinking some water and eating a snack to ensure that you are safe to leave with minimal complications. We do not rush any of our patients. You will remain in our care until it is safe to go home.
For your safety, do not eat any solid foods for at least 6 hours prior to your treatment. However, you can have clear liquids (water, tea, coffee, juice, etc) up to 2 hours prior to your treatment.
No, it is not safe to drive on the day of treatment. You will need a ride home planned out beforehand by either family, a friend. We do not allow our patients to have rides home from ride sharing services.
We recommend getting your treatments on a day when you are not working. You can resume normal function the following day.
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