Frequently Asked Questions
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication first developed more than 50 years ago and is currently FDA-approved as an anesthetic. In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence showing ketamine to be a highly effective treatment for depression, other mood disorders, and chronic pain disorders.
How does it work?
In mood disorder patients, there are damages and atrophy of the neural pathways in regions of the brain associated with planning, personality expression, decision-making, and moderating social behavior. Ketamine is able help repair and restore to normal these damaged areas of the brain leading to improved nueral connections and rapid relief of symptoms.
In chronic pain patients, ketamine plays a major role in reduction of pain through anti-inflammatory effects and by decreasing transmission of pain signals to the brain and spinal cord.
What conditions do ketamine infusion treatment help?
Many studies have shown ketamine to have profound effect on major depression, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, suicidality, severe anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Parkinson’s disease, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), phantom limb pain, post-herpetic neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, opioid resistant pain, fibromyalgia, migraine headache, addiction, and many other conditions.
What is the patient’s response rate for ketamine infusion therapy?
Many research studies have shown that ketamine infusions treatments are effective in 70% of patients. At Houston Ketamine Center, instead of a “one size fits all” approach, we have been able to improve the response rate to 80% of our patients by customizing the treatment to your individual needs. While we are not able to predict how you will respond to ketamine treatments, our track record has been very encouraging.
Is ketamine safe?
Ketamine is a FDA-approved drug with a known safety profile and is an extremely safe medication when administered by a qualified provider. At Houston Ketamine Center, a board-certified anesthesiologist will be closely monitoring you. There are a few conditions that may make your ketamine infusion less safe, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, unstable heart disease, untreated hyperthyroid disease, renal insufficiency, liver impairment, glaucoma, acute porphyria, current manic episode, or active psychotic symptoms (hallucinations or delusions), ketamine abuse, and current pregnancy.
Is ketamine addictive?
No. Ketamine is not physically addictive. There is virtually not potential for addiction when ketamine is used at the doses given in a supervised medical setting.
What are the side effects of ketamine infusion treatment?
The most common reported side effects include drowsiness, euphoria, sensation of floating, temporary blurred vision, and a mild increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Less common side effects include vivid dreams, temporary skin redness, mild nausea, and agitation. If side effects do occur, they can quickly be resolved by decreasing the infusion rate or with counteractive medications. There is no data to suggest that there are long- term side effects when administered in low doses for short periods of time.
Are there any medications or drugs that will interfere with my ketamine infusions?
There are a few drugs that may interact with ketamine’s effects. Please accurately inform us of all medications or drugs you are taking.
Do I need a referral?
No, a referral is not required but recommended. We will do an assessment prior to your treatment. Ketamine infusion should be part of a multidisciplinary treatment, so we advise that you continue with your primary care, mental health, or pain provider so they can manage your overall treatment plan.
How many ketamine infusions will I receive?
Depression / Anxiety Disorder Patients: It is recommended that you receive a series 6 (1 hour) infusions over 2-3 weeks. This is necessary to reset and restore the neural pathways and allow relief of your treatment-resistant condition. Most patients see improvement after their 1st or 2nd infusion, but it is important to complete the whole series for longer relief of your symptoms. For those who don’t see benefit after the 2nd or 3rd infusion, we may continue with a higher dose infusion. If there is still no response, we generally stop further treatment. If ketamine does improve your mood, outlook, and functionality, we suggest that you complete your series to maximize ketamine’s benefits.
Chronic Pain Disorders Patients: It is recommended that you receive five 4-hour long infusions, typically done within 5 days. Although, patients can have profound relief in as little as one infusion, most patients will notice longer lasting results after the full course of treatment is complete.
What should I expect during my ketamine treatments?
On the day of your infusion treatment, an IV will be gently started in your hand or arm. Your vital signs will be closely monitored during the course of your treatment. Once the ketamine infusion is started, you may begin to notice feelings of euphoria, floating sensation, and a heightened perception to sound, light, and colors. Once the infusion is complete, theses feelings will begin to dissipate. Patients are monitored for approximately 30 minutes to an hour.
What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?
After your initial series of infusion treatments, you may start maintenance (booster) infusions as needed to extend the remission of symptoms. The time interval between maintenance infusions is highly variable for each patient. Some patients may have a booster once per month starting 4 weeks after their initial treatment while others have gone over a year before needing a booster treatment.
Do I need to bring someone with me to my ketamine treatments?
You must have a friend or family member take you to and from your infusion treatment. However, they do not have to remain with you during your treatment. We advise that you not to drive a car, operate heavy or dangerous machinery, sign any contracts, or participate in any potentially risky activities until the following morning.
Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
You may eat a light meal up to 6 hours before your scheduled treatment. You may drink clear liquids (water, apple juice, black coffee with no sugar or cream) up to 4 hours before your scheduled treatment.
What is the cost of ketamine infusion treatment?
At Houston Ketamine Center, we understand how important it is to receive this life-changing treatment. We have your best interest in mind and have some of the lowest priced ketamine treatments in the nation. We also offer the following discounts for our patients.
- Military discount - We proudly offer a 10% discount for all military members (veterans, active duty, reservist, guard), law enforcement officers, and first responders (firefighters, EMTs). ID required.
- Referral discount – Refer a new patient to us, a friend, family member, or anyone that may qualify and benefit from ketamine infusion and you both receive a 10% discount on your next infusion treatment.
Does my insurance cover ketamine infusion treatments?
Ketamine infusion treatments are not typically cover by your insurance at this time. We can accept cash, credit cards, HSA, money orders, and CareCredit.
I'm interested in receiving treatment. How do I get started?
Please have your treating physician fill out the referral form from our website and email or fax it back to us. You could also use the "Contact Us" link and send us your contact information. We will reach out to you and send you links to fill out our required forms. Once all forms have been screened, we will schedule a consultation and treatment according to your needs.