Why does ketamine treatment have to be intravenous?

IV ketamine is the gold standard, and nothing has been proven to work as well as the intravenous route. Chances of success with IV ketamine are higher than with any other route.

Although ketamine can be administered orally, intranasally, and intramuscularly—research has found that these aren't as effective as intravenous. With these methods, much of the drug is reduced by the liver before it can reach the brain and take effect.

With protocols that have been developed over years of meticulous research based on thousands of patient experiences, IV ketamine is by far the preferred method of administration to achieve maximum benefit from treatment.  

Because IV ketamine is almost 100% available to the brain, we are able to give lower doses to achieve the same result as higher doses given via other routes, exposing you to fewer drugs and fewer potential side effects than other methods.

What are the benefits of ketamine?

According to research studies, approximately 70-80% of patients feel significant improvement in depression and chronic pain symptoms. Many even experience full resolution of their symptoms.

The onset of this relief typically comes within hours or days of treatment (not weeks, as with other medications). Patients frequently describe increased normalcy in their ability to function even before other symptoms are resolved.

These effects typically last for several weeks, although some patients report experiencing complete relief of depressed symptoms for extended periods. Our programs include six infusions (for mood) or four infusions (for pain). Booster and maintenance infusions are on an individual schedule but typically involve a single infusion every 6-12 weeks.

What are the risks?

When administered by skilled hands, ketamine is an extremely safe medication. Short-term side effects may include small increases in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and visual misperceptions. These can typically be resolved with medication during the treatment session. 

Research over a span of over 20 years has not shown any significant long-term side effects from repeated ketamine infusions, even from higher doses used in Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (CRPS). 

What medical conditions would prevent me from qualifying for ketamine treatment?

Medically, very few people fail to qualify for ketamine treatment. Some conditions, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, may require tight medical control before treatment begins.

Patients on a class of medication known as MAOIs should use caution or avoid ketamine. Due to a lack of research, we cannot offer treatment at this time for people with a history of psychosis.

Do you accept insurance?

We are out of network with insurance carriers but we are happy to check your out-of-network benefits and provide a rough estimate of any reimbursement you could qualify for.  

See our Insurance page for more details.

Do I need to stop taking medications before beginning treatment?

No, our medical staff will review your medications with you prior to treatment and advise you, but it is very uncommon for any changes to be suggested prior to starting ketamine.

Do I need a referral?

We strive to remove barriers and make the process of starting your ketamine treatment simple and painless. At Northwest Ketamine Clinics, we only require an upfront referral for patients under 18 years of age.

When a patient is ready to begin treatment, the next step is to schedule a 30-minute intake call with our nurse practitioner.  During this phone call, the nurse practitioner will review your health history and confirm that you are a good candidate.

Can I pay as I go?

Payment is required prior to beginning treatment and financing may be available through our financing partner, United Medical Credit. 

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