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Frequent Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The more patients know about ketamine therapy, the better informed you are to decide if treatment is the right choice for you. We have included some frequently asked questions about ketamine infusion therapy. We want to alleviate any misperceptions or mysteries about the efficacy of the drug in treatment.
01. What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an anesthetic medication used since the 1960s to provide sedation and analgesia for patients undergoing surgery and invasive procedures. Researchers began to study ketamine as a treatment for depression in 2000 and found it to be an effective treatment for as many as 70-80% of patients. These patients were given sub-anesthetic(doses lower than used in anesthesia) for treatment.
02. How does Ketamine work?
Ketamine acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist in the brain and potentiates glutamate transmission at the AMPA receptor. These mechanisms of action are thought to lead to the rapid antidepressant actions of ketamine. Research shows that ketamine changes the brain’s ability to adapt, change, and create new synapses(positive healthy brain pathways).
03. How do I know if Ketamine is right for me?
Thrive Center for Health offers free consultations. This can be done in person or on the phone. We also suggest discussing the possibility of ketamine infusions with your primary care physician or psychiatrists before determining if it might work for you.
04. Does Ketamine work for all types of depression?
Currently Ketamine is recommended for Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD). TRD is defined as the patient having tried and failed 2-3 types of oral anti-depressant medications.
05. Are Ketamine infusions covered by insurance?
This question is complex. Since reimbursement policies vary amongst all insurance companies, we encourage you to ask your insurance provider if this is something that they cover. We do not currently bill insurance, but are happy to provide you with the necessary documentation in order to help you try to receive reimbursement.
06. What is the cost of Ketamine therapy?
Each patient is required to have a 30 minute physician consultation which costs $150. At that appointment, an individualized treatment plan will be established. A typical treatment plan will consist of 6-10 forty minute infusions for mood disorders, and 3-5 four hour infusions for pain disorders. These are the initial series of infusions and will be supplemented with booster infusions every 4-12 weeks. Each 40 minute infusion costs $500. Each four hour infusion costs $1500.
07. How many treatments will I need?
Ketamine treatment occurs in two steps – “Initiation” and “Maintenance”. The initiation period is different depending on your condition.Treatment Resistant Depression and Mood Disorders are treated with 6 treatments over 3-4 weeks during the initiation phase. The maintenance period consists of “boosters” – which are typically a single treatment. The first booster is typically scheduled 2-3 weeks after your last initiation infusion. After that, every patient varies, but the average length between boosters is 6-8 weeks.For patients with mood disorders, Thrive Center for Health uses a daily text program to monitor your mood and help decide on timing between infusions.Migraines are typically treated with one to two treatments during initiation. Most migraine patients need one infusion every 8-12 weeks for maintenance.Chronic pain infusions are several hours long for several days in a row. The doctor works closely with each patient to tailor an individual schedule that will be most successful. Maintenance infusions for chronic pain are every 2-3 months.
08. Do I need a referral for treatment?
No. We would like you to bring any type of documentation that you have from your Primary Care, Pain Specialist or Psychiatrist concerning your diagnosis and past treatment. It is recommended that your physician be aware of your plans to start Ketamine infusions.Treatment Resistant Depression and Mood Disorders are treated with 6 treatments over 3-4 weeks during the initiation phase. The maintenance period consists of “boosters” – which are typically a single treatment. The first booster is typically scheduled 2-3 weeks after your last initiation infusion. After that, every patient varies, but the average length between boosters is 6-8 weeks.For patients with mood disorders, Thrive Center for Health uses a daily text program to monitor your mood and help decide on timing between infusions.Migraines are typically treated with one to two treatments during initiation. Most migraine patients need one infusion every 8-12 weeks for maintenance.Chronic pain infusions are several hours long for several days in a row. The doctor works closely with each patient to tailor an individual schedule that will be most successful. Maintenance infusions for chronic pain are every 2-3 months.
09. What should I bring the day of my consultation?
A full and accurate medication and allergy list, and any diagnostic/treatment information from prior physicians. It is recommended that you bring a family member or trusted friend to help you understand if ketamine is right for you.
10. How do I prepare for a Ketamine infusion?
Patients are asked to have nothing to eat for four hours prior and nothing to drink for 2 hours prior to the infusion. Patients are also required to have someone to drive them home. We also suggest that you wear comfortable clothes and bring a pillow or blanket to help you relax. If you forget, we can provide these for you. Some patients bring earbuds and relaxing music to listen to.
11. Do I need to stop any of my medications?
No. You should continue to take all your medications as scheduled, including your medications for pain and depression. You may find a decreased need for these meds after your infusion; however, you should work with your doctor to wean off these medications instead of stopping quickly.
12. What should expect on the day of the infusion?
You will be greeted by our office staff and asked to fill out a short questionnaire. The doctor will perform a physical exam. The doctor will start an IV and place you on monitors. We will help you get comfortable and then begin the infusion. During your infusion you will have your blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level and breathing monitored. Typically the infusion lasts one hour, and we monitor you for 15 to 30 minutes after the infusion.
13. Is it possible I will not get my infusion?
Any severe hypertension, chest pain, evidence of street drug abuse (cocaine, amphetamines or opiates) or manic symptoms during your physical exam will prohibit you from receiving Ketamine.

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