Frequently Asked Questions
What is ketamine infusion therapy?
Ketamine Infusion Therapy is the use of ketamine for the treatment of mood disorders and pain conditions, most commonly depression, suicidal ideation, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). For the treatment of mood disorders, ketamine therapy involves a series of six infusions at a ketamine infusion center spaced out over 2-3 weeks, with each infusion lasting about one hour. The dissociative effects of ketamine subside quite quickly, with most patients feeling comfortable enough to go home 20-30 minutes after the infusion is complete. For pain conditions, ketamine treatment involves a series of five, higher dose infusions at a ketamine infusion clinic over five days, with each infusion lasting about four hours.
What does ketamine do to your brain?
Are ketamine clinics legal?
Yes, ketamine is an FDA-approved medicine that has been widely used in the medical field for over 50 years. Ketamine for depression is a newer, off-label use. Esketamine in nasal spray form, AKA Spravato, was approved for depression by the FDA in 2019. While it is legal to operate a clinic, there are many local, state, and federal laws and regulations that clinics must abide by and there are common best practices and standards of care that ethical ketamine clinics follow.
Is ketamine infusion therapy FDA approved?
Ketamine, the medicine, was approved by the FDA as an anesthetic in 1970. Ketamine Infusion Therapy for the treatment of mood disorders and pain conditions is an off-label treatment. When evidence shows medicines to be helpful in treating conditions other than what they were originally approved for that use is considered off-label. This is a very common practice throughout the world. Almost one in four medications in the United States are used off-label and one in three psychiatric medications are. In early 2019, esketamine AKA Spravato, a nasal spray version of ketamine, was approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression.
How much does a ketamine infusion cost?
The exact cost of ketamine therapy varies depending upon the condition being treated, whether the patient is local or traveling from out of town, if insurance coverage is likely to help offset the cost, and several other factors. Please contact us to learn about our pricing and interest-free financing options.
How soon can I be seen?
It is our goal for you to begin treatment within a few days of your first phone consultation. Most patients are seen within one week of their initial inquiry.
Are ketamine infusions addictive?
No. As one of the leading ketamine clinics VA has to offer, we’ve provided ketamine therapy to many patients and not a single one has reported any symptoms of addiction.
Are there any other side effects I should be concerned about?
Patients commonly feel tired or groggy after an infusion. This usually subsides completely after a full night of sleep. Some patients experience mild nausea after an infusion, especially those prone to motion sickness. If you are prone to nausea, we can administer anti-nausea medicine before the infusion to help prevent it. Additionally, patients who experience nausea after an infusion usually feel much better after we provide additional anti nausea medicine. Side effects usually dissipate within a few hours and are usually completely gone by the following day. There are no known long-term side effects of IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy when administered by a responsible clinician in a medical setting.
I don't have a psychiatrist, is that a problem?
We do not require a referral or prescription from a psychiatrist or other physician. We do require speaking with another clinician who has managed the condition for which you are seeking treatment. This is to confirm your diagnosis, learn more about you, and personalize your treatment plan. The clinician can be a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, general practitioner, or pain specialist. All patients are encouraged to engage in talk therapy and implement positive lifestyle changes.
Do ketamine treatments cause bladder damage?
No. There is zero link between therapeutic ketamine use and bladder damage, also known as cystitis. The only known reports of bladder damage caused by ketamine are based on the abuse of street ketamine at doses 10-20 times the amount we administer, taken daily, over the course of years. There is only one study we are aware of on this topic, but bladder cells were exposed to ketamine for 72 hours at concentrations several thousand times greater than the peak serum levels achieved in patients undergoing low-dose infusions of ketamine.
I am bi-polar, will ketamine infusion therapy make me hypomanic?
If ketamine therapy works for me, how soon will I begin to feel better?
Will ketamine infusions help me if I have treatment resistant depression?
We have administered thousands of IV Ketamine Infusions and 84.5% of our patients have received significant relief. Although we cannot guarantee any particular outcome, our past experience has been very encouraging. Many clinical trials have shown that Ketamine Infusions produce results for about 50-70% of those involved. Our treatment is personalized for each individual, in terms of frequency and dosage, and we believe it offers you the best possible chance of success at 84.5%.
How many ketamine infusions will I receive?
Will I require ketamine therapy for the rest of my life?
Some patients achieve long-term relief after one series of infusions. Others find that infusions enhance the impact of antidepressants or provide initial relief that is then sustained by oral medicines, other therapies, and lifestyle changes. If ketamine therapy is the only solution for a patient, they may be able to increase the amount of time between booster infusions. After the initial series of infusions restores the brain to a healthy balance, it is generally easier to maintain that balance than it was to attain it in the first place. Follow-up or “booster” infusions are provided on an as-needed basis for maintenance and are typically two infusions, provided one to two days apart. Patients who make positive lifestyle changes and engage with their provider can remain depression-free long term.
What should I expect during my ketamine treatments?
Can I eat or drink before my appointment?
We ask that you not eat or drink anything four hours before your scheduled appointment; some water is okay. This decreases the chance of nausea and other complications.
Do I need to bring someone with me to my ketamine treatments?
You do not need to have someone bring you or remain with you during the infusion, but someone must bring you home. We advise you to not drive a car, operate heavy/dangerous machinery, sign any contracts, or partake in other potentially risky activities until the following morning.
Where is the treatment performed?
All ketamine infusions administered by Care Clinic are outpatient procedures and are provided in our state-of-the-art facility in Fairfax, Virginia.
What happens after my series of ketamine infusions?
What medical conditions could keep me from receiving IV ketamine infusions?
There are very few. Call now to discuss your other medical conditions or fill out a contact form.
Will my current medications interfere with my ketamine infusions?
Lamotrigine, AKA Lamictal. Patients should allow 6 hours between taking Lamictal and the start of their infusion. They should wait 6 hours after their infusion before resuming Lamictal.
Benzodiazepines. Patients taking large doses may have a reduced response to ketamine. This does not mean you can’t receive ketamine treatment while taking benzodiazepines or that you won’t benefit. It is perfectly safe to combine these medications. We want to ensure the best possible chances for your success though, so we may ask you to skip a dose six hours before the start of your infusion and wait six hours post-infusion before resuming your benzodiazepine. Some common brand names are Xanax (Alprazolam), Ativan (Lorazepam), Valium (Diazepam), and Klonopin (Clonazepam).
SSRIs and tricyclics do not interfere with ketamine. There is no need to adjust dosing.
If you are taking opiates, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatories, there is no need to adjust dosing.
Is there an age requirement to have IV ketamine infusions?
There are no formal age limitations, although we focus on adults aged 18 and older.
What kind of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit and debit cards, cash, and select interest-free financing options. We do not accept checks.
Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?
Reimbursement varies widely among insurance companies and policies within companies. Some insurers offer policies with reimbursement for ketamine therapy. We can provide you with a sample billing statement with the correct CPT codes so you can contact your insurance provider ahead of time and check whether they’ll reimburse you. Many PPO plans reimburse a portion of the cost after you’ve met your deductible. We require payment at the time of treatment. We also offer interest-free financing through Advance Care.
What is esketamine/Spravato and how is it different from the ketamine used in intravenous infusions?
We infuse ketamine intravenously. Esketamine, AKA Spravato, is taken intranasally. We provide ketamine intravenously because the IV route of administration offers a number of safety and efficacy advantages. Please call us to discuss the pros and cons of both treatment options.