Answers to Your Questions
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. At this time, protocol only calls for ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression, but as more research is conducted, the promise is high for ketamine to treat other mental-health conditions.
Why IV ketamine?
IV ketamine is considered the gold standard of ketamine treatment for mood disorders. The term Bioavailability which refers to the percentage of the drug that reaches the blood stream is a significant reason as to why IV ketamine is thought of in this regard. The Bioavailability for IV ketamine is 100% As it is an infusion that goes directly into the blood stream. Other modes of administration can be much less. For example, Sublingual administration has between a 5-15% bioavailability. Almost all academic research for ketamine is done using the IV method. We are proud to be one of less than a handful of private clinics in Canada to offer IV ketamine to our patients.
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?
The cost of IV ketamine is $750 per infusion. Patients will typically need between 4-6 infusion over the course of 2-3 weeks.
Do I need a doctor to refer me for IV ketamine infusions?
Yes you need a referral to access treatment at TKC. If you have been treated for depression with at least 2 trials of antidepressant medication and have for a period of 4-6 weeks each at a therapeutic dose and have not seen relief you can ask your doctor for a referral to TKC.
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.
Does TKC offer financing for ketamine treatments?
Yes, TKC offers financing through our partnership with MediCard. Please find the attached application HERE.