IMC offers ketamine therapy under physician supervision. Ketamine exerts an antidepressant effect through a new mechanism, and may be able to help people successfully manage depression when other treatments have not worked.

Ketamine, developed in 1962, was initially promoted as a fast-acting general anesthetic, widely used as a battlefield anesthetic. It has been used to reduce pain in radiation and burn therapy, treatment of battlefield injuries, and for children who have adverse reactions to other anesthetics. Ketamine is generally preferred in many of these instances because it does not have as deep a sedative effect as other medications.

Over the last 2 decades, the anesthetic ketamine has spurred excitement in psychiatry, since researchers first showed that ketamine alleviated depression in a matter of hours. The rapid reversal of symptoms contrasted sharply with the existing set of antidepressants, which take weeks to begin working. Subsequent studies have shown ketamine works for patients who have failed to respond to multiple other treatments, and so are deemed “treatment-resistant.”

Some researchers believe that ketamine prompts connections to regrow between brain cells that are involved in mood, calling the effect “profound” and observing that the drug works “far more rapidly” than today’s antidepressant pills.( Source: WebMD.com)

The director of the National Institute of Mental Health agrees. “Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades,” says Thomas Insel, MD.

What you should know about Ketamine Therapy:

  • A much lower dose of ketamine is given for depression compared with the dose necessary for anesthesia.
  • Although Ketamine has been illegally used in ways that are not conducive to good health, it is important to understand that the medical protocols are targeted to create only positive results and healing benefits. If you have a history of substance abuse –– such as alcohol or drugs –– it is especially important for you and your doctor to consider whether ketamine is a good option for you.
  • When IV (racemic) ketamine works, people usually respond to it within one to three infusions. If a person has no response at all, further infusions are unlikely to help. Instead, it’s probably best to try other treatments for depression.
  • People who experience some relief from depression within one to three ketamine treatments are probably likely to extend these positive effects if the treatment is repeated several more times. The subsequent sessions may help prolong the effects of ketamine, rather than achieving further dramatic relief of symptoms. There are no standard guidelines for this. Many studies offer eight treatments initially (acute phase). After this, patient and doctor decide whether to taper or stop ketamine treatments, or continue treatments at longer intervals.