Ketamine Infusion Therapy, Can this new treatment help you thrive?

Using Ketamine Infusion Therapy To Help With Depression. Can this new treatment help you thrive?

What happens when traditional anti-depressants don’t work for you? Actually, it’s relatively common; as many as 30% of people won’t have success with traditional anti-depressant medications. Perhaps you’re frustrated with having to take a pill each day. Maybe the side effects of nausea, weight gain, or headaches are too much to bear. Or perhaps despite trying many of the traditional medications, you can’t find one that works appropriately. No matter what the reason, if anti-depressants like Zoloft, Prozac or Lexapro don’t work for you, emerging research suggest that there are other alternatives that may help.

More and more doctors have noted the extreme speed and effectiveness of administering Ketamine to ER patients with suicidal tendencies. This drug can quickly stabilize depressed ER patients so they can be treated appropriately. Doctors are now looking into using the drug as an infusion therapy to help depression sufferers long term.

What is Ketamine?:
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has been used since the 1970s as a reliable, quick acting general anesthetic in the operating room and in small doses, as a pain management drug. The drug is typically used to start and maintain anesthesia and provides pain relief, sedation, and memory loss. The name of this drug may ring a bell as it was often touted as an illicit party drug n the 90s and 2000s due to its hallucinogenic effects. Better regulation has helped to remove this drug from the streets, so its illegal use is much less of an issue today.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy:
Ketamine infusion therapy is a revolutionary treatment using low doses of the drug, ketamine, to quickly treat severe depression. Doses come in the form of IV treatments over the course of a few weeks. These doses are administered at Ketamine clinics by anesthesiologists. Doses take about 45 minutes to deliver with side effects consisting of general confusion, fuzzy vision and lucid daydreaming but clear up quickly once the infusion is over. The beneficial effects of the infusions last anywhere from 3 to 12 weeks after the treatment is over. Despite the high success rate, Ketamine is not yet FDA approved for the treatment of depression, so this procedure is not covered by insurance. The initial infusions can cost around $4,000.

How does it work?:
Unlike traditional anti-depression drugs that target the neurotransmitter serotonin, ketamine acts on a different neurotransmitter called glutamate. It also works on the synaptic level to create more connections in the brain, which allows other anti-depression drugs to work more efficiently. The fact that its effects last longer than 24 hours also helps add to the allure of this treatment. The fact that patients wouldn’t need to take the drug every day is a welcome idea for those used overwhelmed by the frequency of other medications.

What’s next:
Despite being useful in small segments of the population, no large-scale trial has been implemented showing the long-term effects of the drug. Widespread testing, as well as the development of ketamine-like drugs, should help move this treatment forward.

Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell is a Psychiatrist in New York City and specializes in issues involving anxiety depression and adult ADHD. Ketamine Infusion Therapy is one of the many treatments Dr. Ditzell offers to treat a variety of mental health issues.