Is Ketamine addictive?

Ketamine, unlike opioids, is not associated with any physically addictive properties. It can however, be habit forming. To that end, we strongly recommend patients interact with ketamine only in monitored clinical settings like ours.

Do I need a referral from another physician?

All patients are welcome to self-refer, but will have to undergo a medical consult where we will evaluate if Ketamine is an appropriate treatment for you. We require that patients suffering from mental health disorders, such as depression, OCD, severe anxiety also be under the care of a mental health professional. If you do not have a mental health care provider, we have numerous mental health providers on our resources page.  We will work closely with your practitioner to ensure the best outcomes for your well-being, whether for pain or mood disorders.

How long before Ketamine works? What is a typical protocol?

Rarely, patients report an improvement in mood and general well-being after the first few treatments. Most patients experience more gradual outcomes that occur over the course of the treatments. We base our treatments on the latest research studies that recommend a series of 6-8 treatments to begin, and gauge response. We therefore, begin with an “induction phase” of 6-8 treatments, spread over a 2-4 week period, followed by booster maintenance treatments, that are individualized.

After the fifth to sixth treatment, some patients feel an overall better sense of well-being, which can include change in mood, and improvement in daily functionality.

We have found that often times patients require more than the first 6 treatments to reach optimum results.

Do I have to stop or change my other medications?

Please call us with any questions regarding your current medications. Some anti-anxiety medications are known interfere with Ketamine’s effects, we ask that you not take these medications in the 48 hours leading up to your treatment. Do not change your current medication regimen without the direction of your physician, and/or mental health practitioner. Ketamine Infusions are not intended to replace your current medications. Please, confer with your primary care provider, and/or your primary mental health care provider.

How long do the effects of Ketamine last?

The duration of effect is very individual, and can last anywhere from 2-3 weeks to 3 months, and beyond. The booster maintenance phase is different for each patient. After the first induction dose of 6 treatments, we begin to assess for maintenance booster treatment intervals, which are varied.

How is the infusion experience?

We check a set of baseline vital signs, such as your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and your weight. We start an intravenous (IV) line and begin the infusion, which takes about 45-60 minutes. During this time we keep the environment private, quiet, and relaxing. We do monitor you intermittently throughout the infusion. You may listen to your own choice of soothing music.

What will I feel during a ketamine infusion? Will it make me high?

Ketamine is a type of psychoactive substance that exerts a dissociative effect on the brain. Dissociative drugs like ketamine disrupt the mind’s perception of reality, causing people to feel detached from their bodies and surroundings.

Some ketamine patients feel a loss of control. Many describe a sensation of floating. Others experience hallucinations, similar to psychedelic journeys.

This combination of hallucinations and dissociation generates a high that recreational users refer to as a “Special K trip”. If the experience gets too intense, they sometimes describe it as a “K-hole.” However, at Avesta, we describe this occurrence as a “K-home” because our clinical patients often feel safe to explore deeper levels of consciousness. Many arise from the K-home with new insights and calmer mind states.

Is it necessary to have these experiences for ketamine to work?

Currently there is no research demonstrating that dissociation is necessary in order to actually benefit from treatments. Every journey will feel differently than the next or the prior. Even if you only feel mildly relaxed during the infusion, with little dissociation, this does not mean you will not get the benefit. Ketamine is a very potent medication, exerting its effects on the brain 24hr or so after the infusion. Your provider will debrief with you after every treatment, and make adjustments as needed to your subsequent appointments.

How do I know if Ketamine is for me?

  • You must have no uncontrolled medical conditions, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) or cardiac disease.
  • You must generally be older than 18, although we have treated patients younger than 18 with great success. Call our office for a medical consult for this scenario.
  • You must have a diagnosis of major depression, refractory depression, PTSD, OCD, Bipolar disorder, anxiety, and/or chronic pain, and be resistant to other treatments, such as medications.
  • You must be under the care of a current provider treating you for your diagnosis.
  • Patient with sleep apnea may be asked to bring their CPAP devices with them, and may be administered oxygen.
  • Have no history of difficult IV insertions, and can sit comfortably for 1-4 hours.

How do I know if Spravato is for me?

If your insurance covers the cost of the drug and reimburses you for the clinic monitoring time, then Spravato may be right for you. However, if your insurance only covers a part of the above, you must weigh that against the cost of the IV treatments, including the time it takes to do IV versus nasal, and the time it takes for your insurance to approve the cost of your Spravato treatments.

How do I book an appointment?

Feel free to contact us to schedule your initial free consultation. We are happy to answer all your questions.

What can I expect on treatment day?

Please Follow these Instructions Carefully:

  • Before your first treatment, please fill out our forms, which will be sent to you by our team.
  • Please wear comfortable clothing that allow us to access your arms (for blood pressure and IV start) and your chest (for ECG lead placements).
  • You may eat up to 6 hours in advance of the treatment, and have clear liquids up to 2 hours prior to the treatment. Clear liquid examples include only water, black coffee, plain tea, or apple juice. Milk, and creamer in coffee are considered a meal and are not clear liquids.​ Nothing to eat for 6 hours and no liquids for 2 hours before your treatment.
  • You must arrange for a ride from the clinic, you may not drive the day of your infusion.​​
  • Your treatment will be administered in a private room.
  • Phones should be in do not disturb mode, and for privacy of all of our patients we require no talking, photos, videos or texts.

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