What does ketamine treatment entail?
Research supports the ideal protocol for mental health treatment begins with a series of six treatments over three weeks (two per week). Each infusion is about 45 minutes, during which time the patient is monitored and watched closely by a physician anesthesiologist experienced in surgical anesthesia and trained for emergencies. The infusions are typically very safe with very rare complications, but patients must be monitored closely.
The patient gets a small IV in a vein in the arm or hand, and then gets comfortable during the infusion. Patients often bring a blanket and music to help relax. Patients report warm feeling, mild sedation, dissociation, or losing awareness of one’s body, and occasionally hallucinations. Common mild side effects include nausea and headache.
Following the infusion, there is a short recovery period during which vital signs are monitored and the patient’s mental status returns to normal prior to discharge. It is important not to eat or drink anything for several hours prior to the treatment, and to have a ride home afterwards. Patients can experience improvement in mood symptoms within hours of the first treatment.
Typically, treatment involves 6-12 infusions, two per week, during the first month or two, with most patients responding well after the first six treatments. The effects are cumulative and long-lasting, but some patients will return for occasional booster treatments depending on symptoms. For about one-third of patients, the initial series of infusions is adequate and they don’t need boosters. Ketamine does not cause any long-term side effects and is not addictive with how we deliver it here at in2GREAT.