What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a legal anesthetic. In breakthrough research, it was also found to provide fast-acting and potentially life-saving relief for many patients who have major depression resistant to treatment, or suicidal thoughts. Research is also showing promise for other mood disorders or chronic mental-health conditions that have not been helped by traditional treatments when administered off-label under clinical, controlled settings using dosages different from its use as an anesthetic. Ketamine is used illegally and in higher doses as a recreational drug, which can cause dissociation with hallucinations.
How does IV ketamine work on severe conditions, such as major depression?
When stressed, which includes periods of severe mood disorders, such as major depression, changes happen in the brain. The hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol can damage neural connections and ketamine appears to act to restore some of the connections that have been lost. As well, ketamine acts on the neurotransmitter glutamate, in contrast to traditional antidepressants, which increase neurotransmitters like serotonin but they either take a long time to work, or for some people, don’t work at all. Studies are ongoing on the complex ways ketamine may work in the brain. Clinical trials have shown that 60% to 70% of patients with treatment-resistant depression have been responsive to ketamine.
How long do the effects of ketamine last?
The long-term effects of ketamine are not known at this time. Current evidence suggests that most patients stay well for a couple of months with others staying well for longer periods of time. It is recommended to take booster shots as needed. Theses are typically administered once every 1-2 months.
Can IV ketamine treat anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder and suicidality?
Ketamine has shown promise in several studies at prestigious universities and hospitals in providing relief for anxiety disorders, PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder and suicidality, as well as treatment-resistant depression. Because of its rapid effects in many patients, it is given to patients with suicidality in some emergency departments.
Why IV ketamine infusions?
We have chosen intravenous (IV) delivery of therapeutic doses of ketamine in order to provide the most accurate, efficient, safe and fast-acting treatment. IV infusions mean 100% of the medication is getting to your bloodstream, and can begin to act quickly. IV delivery also allows for precision dosing, and carefully controlled delivery by a doctor.
How quickly does IV ketamine treatment begin to work?
Some patients experience relief within hours, while others may see relief in days. A full treatment protocol is 6 infusions. Some patients may require repeated treatments. Our staff have specific expertise in ketamine treatment for mood disorders and chronic mental-health conditions and will monitor and adjust your treatment to give you the treatment plan that best matches your needs.
Is IV ketamine safe?
The infusion of IV ketamine in a medical clinic supervised by an anesthesiologist is safe. Treatment at a therapeutic dose is non-addictive. One of the most common side effects during treatment is a sense of dissociation (or disconnection from yourself or your surroundings), which disappears soon after the infusion.
Is IV ketamine right for me?
Are ketamine infusions covered by OHIP?
At this time, public insurance such as OHIP does not cover IV ketamine treatments.
Are there any contraindications for ketamine?
Currently there is a contraindication to ketamine for those suffering from psychotic disorders. This would include those who suffer from conditions that include hallucinations and delusions.
How much do ketamine infusions cost?
$600 per infusion, with the typical protocol being 6 infusions.
Do I need a doctor to refer me for IV ketamine infusions?
What can I expect IV ketamine infusion treatment to be like?
If you are a candidate for IV ketamine treatments, you will be scheduled for a series of 45-minute sessions of intravenous infusions in our Toronto clinic. You will be offered a recovery period after your treatment, which depends on your individual response, and you will need a companion to accompany you home after treatment. You will be scheduled for three weeks of 2-times-a-week infusions. Follow-up visits for booster infusions are available as needed, and would typically be in 2-3 months, depending on individual needs.
Do I need to stop my current treatments?
You don’t need to stop your current treatments. Your doctor at Toronto Ketamine Clinic will review your medical history and potentially consult with your doctor to determine the best course of treatment.
When can I start ketamine infusion treatments?
Once you have been approved by the clinic psychiatrist, you can book your first treatment.