Ketamine for Depression

December 20, 2017
Ketamine for Depression

Announcing a New Service: Ketamine for Depression

The Wholeness Center is pleased to offer ketamine treatment options to Northern Colorado. This innovative treatment has seen an explosion of interest over the last few years. After a few years of training and study, Craig Heacock MD and Scott Shannon MD are now accepting patients for evaluation and treatment with ketamine for depression.

Ketamine is a generic medication in worldwide use in Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Pain Medicine and Veterinary Medicine since the 1960’s. In 2006 Carlos Zarate, a researcher at NIMH documented the value of ketamine in providing relief for treatment resistant depression (failed at least three prior treatments). Since then, a wide range of studies has documented robust response rates not only in severe depression, but also for suicidal ideation and bipolar depression. Recent reports find benefit for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as well. The response occurs either immediately or within a few hours, quite unusual for psychiatry as most medicines take weeks to show a response. The biggest struggle for ketamine with depression has been finding maintenance schedules that make the response enduring.

Ketamine is very well-tolerated and considered safe after 50 years of common use in a range of applications across many fields of medicine. The doses used in psychiatry are a fraction (10%-25%) of the doses used in anesthesia or pediatric emergencies. Some people are prone to nausea – if so we prescribe pretreatment with a medicine called Zofran before each session. Ketamine treatment will not be considered at this time if you are pregnant, have a psychotic disorder, or have uncontrolled high blood pressure.

The ketamine for depression treatments are administered via IV (intravenous line) or IM (intramuscular injection). Typically, six sessions are given over 3 weeks (3 during week 1, 2 during week 2, and 1 during week 3). Then, we often move to oral lozenges for maintenance treatment that are taken under supervision. The typical process requires an evaluation with Dr. Scott Shannon or Dr. Heacock prior to scheduling the ketamine for depression sessions. Scheduled sessions last about an hour and all patients must have a ride home after all ketamine treatments. Your psychiatrist meets with you during the visit and monitors your progress. Dosage is adjusted for the next session(s) based on your individual response.

In the IV style patients will typically meet in the physician’s office so the psychiatrist can process the experience with you. For most, a ketamine session is relaxing. Most people are euphoric after the treatment and this effect lasts for days with each session, with each typically building on the next. The duration and the intensity of the response may relate to how profoundly the ketamine experience alters your view of the world.

Dr. Heacock and Dr. Shannon seek and support uplifting experiences for the people we work with at Wholeness Center. We believe that ketamine is a tool for positive mental growth and exploration. We will consider the motivation for psycho-spiritual growth as a possible rationale for treatment on a case-by-case basis. Needless to say, we at the Wholeness Center are very excited to provide ketamine treatment services for Northern Colorado. Please send us a message or call us at 970-221-1106 to find out more about scheduling and cost.

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Posted in Anxiety and Depression by Wholeness Center | Tags: , ,