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How to Get Ketamine Prescribed for Depression
April 13, 2022 at 5:00 AM
How to Get Ketamine Prescribed for Depression

Ketamine is an anesthetic that was first used on animals before being approved by the FDA for human use. As an anesthetic, ketamine helps induce loss of consciousness, reduce sensations of pain, and inhibit memory. Typically, ketamine is combined with other anesthetic medications when used for surgery. A key benefit of ketamine as an anesthetic is that it doesn’t impair breathing or have a substantial effect on heart function.

Today, thanks to several scientific studies conducted at institutions like Yale University and the National Institute of Mental Health, ketamine is being used to mitigate treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum depression, and PTSD. Ketamine has been found to be so effective in providing relief to individuals with these conditions that many remain symptom-free for long periods after treatment.

But since ketamine is still currently FDA approved only as an anesthetic, those seeking ketamine treatment for their depression will need to be prescribed for it — or get approved for treatment after a consultation with a provider.

How to Get Ketamine Prescribed for Depression and Other Mental Health Conditions

In short, a licensed medical doctor can prescribe ketamine for depression. However, treatment itself will take place with a psychiatrist, or specialty doctor or clinic. A physician will provide you with a referral that indicates what you’re being treated for and what treatments you have previously tried.

Once you have a referral, the psychiatrist will have a consultation with you to assess if ketamine treatment is the right form of treatment for you. The goal of these assessments is to determine your psychiatric history, your medical history, and any current or past medications you’ve used.

The assessment will also ascertain information such as:

  • Your family’s psychiatric history
  • Past diagnoses or suicidal behavior
  • Substance use
  • Past experiences with anesthesia

Depending on your medical history and psychiatric history, ketamine treatment may be a good choice for you. However, if you’ve experienced any of the following, you may not be eligible:

  • Have acute cardiovascular disease
  • Experienced a previously negative response to ketamine treatment
  • Have a history of psychosis or substance abuse

Types of Ketamine You Can Be Prescribed

Ketamine can be prescribed as a treatment for mental health conditions in two forms. First as an intravenous (or IV) infusion, or as a nasal spray. Both are administered in a medical setting and are given at doses much lower than when ketamine is given as an anesthetic.

  • Racemic ketamine: Given as a blood infusion via IV
  • Esketamine: Given as a nasal spray.

What does IV Ketamine Treatment Entail?

During treatment, you’ll be placed in a comfortable setting while ketamine is administered through an IV. You will remain awake and conscious throughout the treatment. A typical treatment regimen of ketamine for depression is six 40-minute sessions. While many patients experience pleasant side effects like mild euphoria, you may also experience out-of-body sensations.

After treatment, these side effects will quickly disappear, and patients can leave the office feeling normal and themselves after half an hour. Though, since you may feel drowsy, it’s recommended that someone else drive you home.

Usually, patients with depression will begin to experience relief from their symptoms within one to three sessions of ketamine treatment. And, after six sessions, will experience long-term relief.

It’s this rapidly acting relief and minimal side effect profile that draws many people with depression, those with both depression and anxiety, and those with PTSD, to consider ketamine for their mental health.

What You Can Expect from Long Island Ketamine Infusions

At our clinic, you’ll find a team of medical professionals who prioritize compassionate care. If you’re ready to learn more about ketamine treatment, and if it could be the right treatment for your depression, reach out to us today. No matter your question or concern, we’re here to help provide you with the answers you need.