FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Karitas offers ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression, chronic pain, and other debilitating conditions — and we have answers to your questions.
Questions & Answers
From how to prepare for your ketamine infusions to what you can expect after your treatments, we have the answers to many common questions about ketamine for depression and chronic pain.
IS KETAMINE SAFE?
Since the 1970s, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic, as well as for acute pain relief in emergency departments. When administered by properly trained healthcare professionals, ketamine is a very safe treatment for depression. Anesthesiologists, like those on staff here at Karatis, and emergency physicians are best equipped to administer ketamine for depression.
When used for the treatment of depression, ketamine is intravenously administered in doses much too low to induce general anesthesia. The ketamine infusions administered for chronic pain management last longer, but are still delivered at a sub-anesthetic protocol.
What research has been done about Ketamine for depression, and what does it show?
Please visit the Research page on our website to learn more about the many research studies that have been performed, and what the findings and outcomes say about ketamine for depression and chronic pain.
IS KETAMINE A RECREATIONAL DRUG?
Like many common pharmaceuticals, ketamine can be abused as a recreational drug. However, street drug usage is in doses significantly higher than those used for depression treatment or chronic pain management. Ketamine is administered safely — and legally — by anesthesiologists, emergency physicians, and ketamine clinics every day. Most credible ketamine clinics will not provide patients with a take-home prescription of ketamine, minimizing any risk of abuse by the patient or other individuals who may gain access to the drug.
IS INTRAVENOUS KETAMINE THE ONLY WAY TO ADMINISTER KETAMINE FOR DEPRESSION?
The “gold standard” as far as ketamine administration goes are IV ketamine infusions, which can be closely monitored and controlled, and that deliver 100% of the depression medication into a patient’s bloodstream. Most studies that have been conducted about ketamine for depression have relied on data from IV infusions. However, ketamine treatments can also be delivered intranasally, orally, sublingually or intramuscularly. These routes of administration have less predictable outcomes, as the bioavailability of the ketamine differs from patient to patient.
CAN KETAMINE HELP ME?
Studies show that ketamine infusions effectively alleviate the symptoms of severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions in up to 70% of patients. The benefits, while remarkable, differ from what many patients expect. Ketamine infusions will not be a “benevolent thunderbolt” that cures your depression instantly, but — if it works for you — it will manifest in subtle changes that lift the fog of depression. These changes occur rapidly, and are even further enhanced by other therapeutic modalities and mind-body techniques. Our ketamine clinic will work closely with you to identify and evaluate the benefits of ketamine as a depression medication. If you’d like to discuss your personal situation, please contact our West Covina clinic.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY FIRST INFUSION?
We’ll schedule your initial consultation upon receipt of your patient intake forms. At your consultation, we’ll determine whether you are a good candidate for ketamine infusions. If we believe ketamine infusions could help you, you are welcome to receive your first ketamine infusion that same day.
Before administering your ketamine infusion, we will place an IV and apply monitors to help us record your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and oxygen levels throughout the infusion. The ketamine infusion will last about 45 minutes. You will be awake during your infusion, and able to interact with those around you. Many patients choose to relax and listen to music during their infusions. Afterwards, we will monitor you for another 30 minutes before discharging you into the care of a friend or relative who can drive you home. Plan to be at our ketamine clinic for 90-120 minutes.
Common side effects of ketamine infusions include nausea, mild non-threatening hallucinations, and dizziness. We can administer an anti-nausea medication should you experience this side effect. Most ketamine effects are completely gone within 2-hours of your infusion, though we ask you not to drive for 24-hours post-infusion.
For the four hours before your ketamine infusion, please avoid solid foods, milk, pulp-filled juices, or soup. You may have clear liquids such as water, Gatorade, apple juice, black coffee or tea up to two hours before your infusion.
How many infusions will I need?
The recommended ketamine infusion protocol for depression, based on the results from scientific trials and clinical experience, is 4-6 infusions administered within a 2-week timeframe. Our ketamine clinic has found that 4 infusions is actually more high-yield than 6. After these initial infusions, many patients require maintenance ketamine infusions to prolong their positive results. Each patient will vary in how long they can go between infusions. Remember, ketamine is not a cure for depression — rather it is a highly-effective component of a multi-modal approach to depression treatment.
Can I continue to take my other medications?
Do not stop your antidepressant medications — or any other medication — in order to receive ketamine infusions. We will review your current medication list prior to your first infusion, and will alert you to any pharmacological contraindications.
Is ketamine addictive?
Contrary to what some may believe, ketamine is not a physically addictive drug. However, those abusing the drug for recreational purposes, in higher doses than what we would administer in our ketamine clinic, may develop a psychological dependency to ketamine.
How It Works
Consult with our experienced team to determine if ketamine treatment is right for you. Call us today at 1-877-527-4827 or submit this form request for a confidential phone consultation.
15-minute Phone Consultation
Referral & Evaluation