10 Questions You Should Ask About Ketamine Treatment Therapy

April 22, 2024 by Steve Suntala

Ketamine was originally used as an anesthetic, but it’s now being explored as a new treatment option for depression, especially for those who haven’t found relief with standard treatments. Patients from all walks of life have found relief from mental health conditions through monitored ketamine therapy.

This innovative therapy quickly alleviates depression symptoms by uniquely affecting brain chemicals. If you’re thinking about trying ketamine therapy to treat depression, it’s crucial to be well informed before making your decision.

At New Pathways Clinic, we like to begin to get to know patients through a free phone consultation. That’s a great opportunity for us to learn about your needs, and for you to ask your own questions about what to expect.

In this article, we’ll outline key questions to ask during your consultation. These questions are designed to help you determine if ketamine is the right choice for you, set clear expectations for the therapy, and understand the kind of care and support you will receive.

We’ve provided some basic answers here, but each patient will approach ketamine from a unique position. Make sure that you gather all the information needed to answer each question most practically and effectively. 

How does ketamine therapy work for depression?

Ketamine therapy works by rapidly boosting levels of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, which stimulates the growth of synapses and helps improve neural connectivity in the brain. This can quickly alleviate symptoms of depression, often within hours or days of treatment.

During and after a treatment session, ketamine acts rapidly. Its effects can be felt sometimes within hours of administration, which is significantly quicker than traditional antidepressants that may take weeks to become effective. Patients often report a rapid lifting of depression symptoms such as improved mood, increased motivation, and greater emotional stability.

While the initial benefits of ketamine can be fast-acting, maintaining these effects usually requires ongoing treatment. 

After the initial series of infusions, patients may return for maintenance doses at intervals that can vary from weeks to months, depending on their individual response.

What are the different conditions that ketamine can treat?

Besides depression, ketamine is also used to treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, bipolar disorder, migraines, and certain cases of acute suicidal ideation.

What are the qualifications of the clinicians administering ketamine?

Clinicians administering ketamine include psychiatric providers , anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals  who have received specific training in ketamine administration and are licensed to practice in Ohio. New Pathways’ team has over a decade of experience treating psychiatric conditions with ketamine, with protocols based on more than ten years of research at the Cleveland Clinic.

TAKE OUR QUIZ: Is Ketamine Right For You? 

What is the protocol for a typical ketamine treatment session?

Ketamine is delivered via IV or as a nasal spray (in the case of Spravato). The clinic setting is designed to be calming, and patients are often encouraged to relax or listen to music during the infusion.

During a treatment session, a patient receives a low dose of ketamine or esketamine under close supervision by medical staff. The dosage is much lower than what would be used for anesthesia. Clinicians monitor vital signs, including heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen levels, throughout the session to ensure the patient’s safety.

The experience itself lasts about an hour and the appointments are generally around two hours to allow for preparation and recovery.

How many sessions might I need?

The number of ketamine sessions required varies, but most treatment protocols suggest an initial series of six sessions over three weeks, followed by booster sessions depending on the patient’s response. For Spravato it is eight sessions, twice a week for the first month, and four sessions, once a week, for the second month.

What are the potential side effects of ketamine therapy?

Side effects can include dissociation, dizziness, nausea, elevated blood pressure, and hallucinations. These effects are generally short-lived and monitored by health care providers.

How quickly can I expect to see results from ketamine treatments?

Many patients report feeling relief from depressive symptoms within hours to days after receiving ketamine therapy, which is significantly faster than most traditional antidepressants that may take weeks to become effective.

By the end of six infusions, about 20% of patients respond so positively that they don’t feel the need for further treatment. Some patients require more than six infusions to get the maximum response. A majority of patients experience significant or complete relief, but require booster infusions to sustain an optimal remission. New Pathways Clinic offers customized booster infusion plans based on patient response, ranging from every month to once a year.

Interested in a free consultation on ketamine treatments? If you’d like to pursue this journey, we have locations in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

What follow-up or support is offered post-treatment?

Post-treatment support typically includes follow-up appointments to monitor mental health and adjust dosing schedules as necessary. At New Pathways Clinic, we encourage patients to pursue integration therapy or counseling to help process their experiences and sustain the benefits of the treatment.

What are the costs involved, and is it covered by insurance?

With our experience in dealing with insurance companies for ketamine infusions, we will always do our best to maximize your insurance coverage of the treatments. All you have to do is provide your health insurance card and  we will do the rest.

Based on experience, we know most patients will have a significant portion covered. Insurance coverage varies from patient to patient even if they have the same health insurance plan. Because Ketamine is not an FDA-approved treatment for mental health, we cannot guarantee you there will be coverage.

Ohio Medicaid Plans do cover esketamine (Spravato nasal treatments) if you meet the eligibility criteria.

Are there any recent studies or clinical trials on ketamine that I can review?

Numerous studies have been published on the efficacy and safety of ketamine for depression and other conditions. Here are a few of the more prominent or recent studies that may help guide your decision-making:

Efficacy of ketamine therapy in the treatment of depression (2019) 

Double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging trial of intravenous ketamine as adjunctive therapy in treatment-resistant depression (2019)

Ketamine versus ECT for Nonpsychotic Treatment-Resistant Major Depression (2023)

Ketamine for the treatment of major depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis (2023)

Want to move ahead with a free consultation and get even more information on topics like this? Let us know. We’re looking forward to talking with you. 

At New Pathways Clinic our heartfelt mission is to establish a holistic mental wellness campus that touches the lives of individuals in the greater Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati regions. We are dedicated to combining state-of-the-art mental health treatments, like Ketamine therapy infusions and Spravato nasal spray, with the expertise of compassionate mental health professionals to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, migraines, and bipolar disorder.

Our unwavering commitment drives us to continuously evolve and adapt as the scientific landscape of ketamine research expands and diversifies, leading to innovative mental health treatments. We are determined to pave the way for a healthier future for Cleveland, central Ohio, and southern Ohio.

New Pathways Clinic also offers Semaglutide & Tirzepatide weight-loss shots, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, and  ketamine/Spravato support groups for patients.

Keep In Touch

Stay informed on ketamine treatments, Spravato, and mental-health wellness at New Pathways Clinic in Cleveland via our free newsletter.

© New Pathways 2024