Questions About Ketamine Therapy

Will ketamine therapy help my treatment resistant depression?

Based on searches of major medical centers over the past 15 years, and in our experience, up to 70% of all patients can expect significant, and fast, relief. Of course, we cannot predict any individual’s results.  Our treatment is tailored in terms of frequency and dosage to each person, and we believe it offers your best chance of success.

How many ketamine infusions will I receive?

That will depend on your response. Most responsive patients receive a series of six to eight infusions. Dr. Itzkoff will work with you to customize your treatment plan for the best chance of success.

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Are there any long term side effects with ketamine therapy?

Traditional medications often produce side effects such as sexual dysfunction and weight gain. However, ketamine therapy from Neuragain results in no known long-term side effects.

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What medical conditions could keep me from receiving ketamine?

There are very few. Your Neuragain provider will discuss contraindications with you before you receive your first infusion.

Do I need to be referred by a psychiatrist?

If you are not currently a patient of Dr. Itzkoff’s, she will meet with you to discuss your diagnosis and treatment prior to coordinating treatment. Patients who are already seeing Dr. Itzkoff will work with her to determine readiness.

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Will I require ketamine infusions for the rest of my life?

Probably not. Some patients seem to achieve long-term relief after a series of infusions.

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I am bi-polar. Will ketamine make me hypomanic?

Hypomania has not been reported following ketamine therapy.

Where is the treatment performed?

Dr. Itzkoff’s is a Neuragain specialist. All treatments are performed on an outpatient basis in her relaxing and comfortable location.

If ketamine therapy works for me how soon will I begin to feel better?

It is impossible to predict exactly how long it will take to improve. Every patient is different. Some patients will begin to feel better very early in the infusion plan and some may take a bit longer. Patients with thoughts of self-harm often notice those thoughts dissipating first. There can be a dramatic relief of dread and hopelessness. Other patients may not notice any mood improvement until several infusions are completed. Discuss your treatment plan with Dr. Itzkoff to determine what is best for you personally.

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Will my current psychiatric medications interfere with ketamine therapy?

Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics) do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. Patients taking large doses of benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax and Klonipin) will have a reduced response to ketamine, but taking these medicines does not mean that ketamine cannot help you. Lamictal in doses over 100mg/day will blunt the ketamine response. Important: You should not decrease or stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescribing physician.

Are ketamine infusions addictive?

No.

Treatment Day Questions

Do I need to bring someone with me?

You do not need to have someone accompany you during the infusion, but we do require that someone drive you home. We advise you not to drive a car or make important decisions until the following morning.

Are there other side effects that I would experience during or after my therapy?

Occasionally patients experience some nausea following an infusion. If so, we have medication that will help. More rarely, a patient may experience a transient headache. Patients can expect to be tired following the infusion. Very, very rarely patients already at risk for seizure have reportedly experienced one. If you have a seizure disorder please be sure to share that information with Dr. Itzkoff prior to your therapy.

Can I eat or drink before my appointment?

You cannot eat for the 4 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. You may have clear liquids up until 2 hours before your appointment.

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What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?

Following the initial series of infusions, most patients will work with Dr. Itzkoff to begin a maintenance program; returning for single infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient.

Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?

Because ketamine therapy for mood and anxiety disorders is recent and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.

What should I expect during ketamine therapy?

Ketamine is administered over a period of 40 minutes. The dose is determined by your weight. The amount of ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you will remain awake. During the infusion some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative”, or “out of body” experience. These are side effects of ketamine that may be important for ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly dissipate. There are no delayed “flashbacks,” and patients generally leave the office within 30 minutes following the infusion and feel quite normal.