Q. What conditions does ketamine treat?
Ketamine infusions may help some patients with chronic pain. Ketamine has shown particular benefit in the treatment of Reflex sympathetic dystrophy now called Complex regional pain syndrome that has been unresponsive to other treatments. Ketamine may also be useful in treating chronic headache, neuropathy and fibromyalgia. Ketamine is also an effective treatment for depression and can be used to help get patients off opioids.
It should be noted that ketamine infusion therapy does not guarantee success with your pain or condition. It is possible to undergo ketamine infusion therapy and have no beneficial effect. This course of treatment is purely elective. Patients must make their own decision to voluntarily proceed knowing it may have no beneficial effect. However thousands of patients treated with ketamine have shown significant improvement in their symptoms. The highest chances for successful treatment begins with a proper diagnoses.
Q. How do I get started?
You will be required to maintain ongoing regular contact with your primary care doctor, pain specialist, social worker, counselor or therapist during and after your series of ketamine infusions. We will be contacting them to confirm your diagnosis. A consultation with one of our ketamine specialists is needed and we will thoroughly explore alternatives and review past treatments and their success (or failure).
Q. How long does ketamine infusion take?
This varies based on diagnosis and response. All protocols do require multiple infusions for any chance at sustained benefit. In the case of CRPS daily infusion of 4 to 6 hours are needed for two to four weeks.
More than one series of infusions may be required to achieve resolution of symptoms.
As a guideline the more days of ketamine therapy in a row the better resolution of symptoms. However each patient disease is different and we work with you to determine a treatment plan that works with your situation. Some patients may do well with a less intensive treatment plan but CRPS and RSD require intensive therapy.
Q. Does insurance cover ketamine infusion treatments?
We can only accept cash or credit cards. Insurance does not cover the cost of ketamine infusion.
There is an 80% deposit required when we schedule your infusion appointment. Remainder of the balance due will be paid on the day of your infusion. All payments can be made by cash or credit card. We accept VISA and MASTER CARD, AMERICAN EXPRESS.
Q. Is ketamine addictive?
Addiction has not been described in ketamine infusion therapy given the dose used, treatment schedule, supervised medical setting and lack of withdrawal symptoms. Ketamine is not habit forming. That said, ketamine is becoming a popular drug of abuse. Ketamine has a proven track record of being an FDA-approved anesthetic medication since the mid 1960’s.
Q. Will ketamine treatment effect my current medications?
High doses of benzodiazepines will likely make ketamine therapy ineffective. You will need to talk with your prescribing physician about your benzodiazepine use. Patients on MAOI’s should also not take ketamine. You should consult with your prescribing doctor before starting or stopping ANY medication.
Q. What medical conditions will exclude me from ketamine treatment?
Any medical condition that is not well managed would preclude you from treatment. Uncontrolled high blood pressure, or any serious cardiac or respiratory conditions need to be disclosed to avoid complications. Your pain doctor will review all your conditions and medications with you during the consultation before treatment.
Q. What are the side effects of ketamine?
Some patients have reported mild dissociative symptoms during their infusions which are short lived. While not usually unpleasant some effects of floating, blurry visual changes, and dizziness can be treated with other medications to make your infusion be a pleasant experience and not scary.
Q. Can I drive to my infusion appointment?
The ketamine infusion produces a mental state which makes it unsafe for you to drive a car or operate heavy machinery for 48 hours after your infusion. So it is mandatory that a trusted friend or family member accompany you to all your infusion appointments. They will be expected to transport you to and from your appointment.