Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to the Scenic City Neurotherapy and Ketamine Center frequently asked questions. For your convenience, we’ve put together a list of some common questions and answers. Perhaps you have the same question that was on somebody else’s mind. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Subscribe to our website at the bottom of this page and contact us directly with your questions.
Ketamine is an anesthetic developed in the early 1960s. It is one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine. It has a variety of medical uses, and is FDA-approved as an anesthetic. Ketamine has a remarkably safe track record in surgical settings, and is frequently used in pediatric surgery. It is also commonly used to treat the extreme physical pain of a condition called CRPS/RSD. The US military has used ketamine as a battlefield anesthetic since the Vietnam War. Ketamine is also used in veterinary medicine. Just like many other essential medications such as morphine or Valium, ketamine is stolen from suppliers and pharmacies to be abused recreationally, and it is a controlled substance in many countries. In the US ketamine is listed on DEA Schedule III.
In short, the answer is yes. When administered by a licensed, certified anesthesia provider, it is very safe. Before any medications are administered, a thorough physical assessment is performed to see if there is any reason why you shouldn’t receive ketamine. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen level are monitored continuously throughout the infusion. There is some mild disassociation with low-dose ketamine infusions which is often described by patients as a “weird, disconnect from your body experience.” This goes away once the infusion stops and you may feel tired or hung over for about an hour. All side effects are gone approximately two hours after the infusion is stopped.
A single ketamine infusion will relieve you depressive symptoms for about 2-3 days. While many people with mood disorders are desperate for help, 2-3 days of relief is hardly long enough to be worth it to the patient. That is why our team, along with ketamine researchers and other ketamine providers all over the world have pooled their knowledge and experience to create a treatment protocol that requires a six-hour commitment spread out over two weeks. Those who complete this treatment regimen can expect significant lessening or remission of their depressive symptoms lasting 30-90 days. Many patients feel relief for much longer. Each person’s experience is different. Relief from depressive symptoms can be extended by making positive changes in your daily life such as improving your diet, getting daily exercise, and continuing your psychiatric treatment with your psychiatrist or psychologist. If symptoms re-emerge after a few months, a single 40 min infusion is usually all that is required to return the patient to a state of remission.
Ketamine is a profound analgesic. In the case of neuropathic pain disorders, ketamine causes a regeneration of the neurons in the brain that perceive the pain. The long term hyper-stimulation of these neurons have caused the pain to increase over time. The damage from this hyper-stimulation can vary from patient to patient. That being said, ketamine infusion therapy used in combination with magnesium sulfate and lidocaine can give long-term or in some cases, permanent relief from these disorders. Neuropathic pain infusions last about 4 hours. The relief is immediate and often the results compound with each consecutive infusion. Duration of relief is dependent on the individual patient, opioid medication use, and lifestyle. Often times the worst cases report relief as long as a few weeks to a few months.
It is a real medical treatment administered by an anesthesiologist. It’s not hype. The National Institutes of Health has been studying ketamine’s affect on depression for more than ten years. There is serious scholarly research behind this treatment, which means controlled, double-blind, peer-reviewed studies at major institutions. Researchers at Yale pioneered this research nearly 20 years ago and published the first major study in 2000. Since then, dozens more ketamine studies have been conducted at Yale and other major institutions including NIH, The VA, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Mt. Sinai Medical School, Oxford University, and many more around the world.
Partly because the pharmaceutical industry can’t make money from using ketamine on depression. Ketamine is an old drug whose patent expired decades ago, and is cheap to manufacture generically, which means it will never produce blockbuster profits. In addition, some of the most prominent ketamine researchers discourage doctors from using it outside of research settings, arguing that the benefits of using ketamine widely are outweighed by the need to conduct more studies on long-term safety and efficacy. Some also feel that the brief dissociative effect some patients experience during treatment is reason enough not to use it in clinical practice. Finally, many psychiatrists oppose ketamine therapy.
The research is out there. Ketamine infusion therapy in the treatment of mood disorders and neuropathic pain has been researched extensively. The Ketamine Advocacy Network is an organization comprised of patients who are seeking access to ketamine therapy. Their website has many excellent resources including a research database with vast amounts of articles and studies available for free. Also, we encourage you to reach out to us and we will be happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about our treatment process.
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