Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do I need to be referred by a psychiatrist?
No. All Neuragain doctors are experienced psychiatric professionals. If you are currently being treated by another psychiatrist he or she may want to discuss your treatment and progress with that physician.
2. Where is the treatment performed?
All treatment is outpatient and is performed in the professional offices of doctors who are part of our specialized network.
3. Will Ketamine Therapy help my treatment resistant depression?
Based on searches of major medical centers over the past fifteen years, and in our experience, up to 70% of all patients can expect significant, and fast, relief. Of course, we cannot predict any individual’s results. Treatments are tailored in terms of frequency and dosage to each person, and we believe it offers your best chance of success.
4. How many ketamine infusions will I receive?
That will depend on your response. Most patients receive a series of six infusions.
5. What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?
Following the initial series of infusions, most patients choose, in consultation with their doctors, to begin a maintenance program, returning for single infusions intermittently. The interval between maintenance infusions varies from patient to patient and often increases over time (infusions are required less frequently).
6. If ketamine therapy works for me how soon will I begin to feel better?
A small group of patients will begin to feel better within hours of the first infusion. Patients with thoughts of self-harm often notice those thoughts dissipating first. There can be a dramatic relief of dread and hopelessness. Most patients may not notice any mood improvement until their third or fourth infusion. Almost all patients who will respond notice improvement after a series of six infusions.
7. Will I require ketamine infusions for the rest of my life?
No. Some patients seem to achieve long-term relief after a series of infusions.
8. What should I expect during ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is administered over a period of 40 minutes. The dose is determined by your weight. The amount of ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you will remain awake. During the infusion some patients experience odd perceptions—like seeing bright colors. Some report what is referred to as a “dissociative”, or “out of body” experience. These are side effects of ketamine that may be important for ketamine’s ultimate effectiveness. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. Once the infusion is complete, the dissociative effects of the drug rapidly dissipate. There are no delayed “flashbacks,” and patients generally leave the office within 30 minutes following the infusion and feel quite normal.
9. Are there other side effects I should be concerned about?
Occasionally patients experience some nausea following an infusion. It is important to remember not to eat or drink in the hours prior to an infusion. More rarely, a patient may experience a transient headache. Patients can expect to be tired following the infusion. Very, very rarely, patients already at risk for seizure have reportedly experienced one. If you have a seizure disorder, please be sure to discuss it with your doctor prior to receiving ketamine therapy.
10. What medical conditions could keep me from receiving ketamine?
There are very few. Your Neuragain provider will discuss contraindications with you before you receive your first infusion.
11. Are ketamine infusions addictive?
No. All Neuragain providers follow an evidence based protocol with dosages that are not likely to be addictive.
12. Do I need to bring someone with me?
You do not need to have someone bring you or accompany you during the infusion, but we request that you have someone bring you home. We advise you not to drive a car until the following morning.
13. Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
You cannot eat for the 4 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. You may have clear liquids up until 2 hours before your appointment.
14. Will my current psychiatric medications interfere with ketamine treatment?
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics) do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. Ketamine infusions can provide relief during the time it takes antidepressant medications to begin working. Important: You should not decrease or stop taking any prescribed medication without first consulting your prescribing physician.
15. Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?
Because ketamine therapy for mood and anxiety disorders is recent and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not provide reimbursement.