Ketamine is approved by the FDA for use in children and adults for anesthesia and as a pain reliever during medical procedures. Ketamine has an excellent safety record and several applications in medicine: since 1970, it has been a successful anesthetic used in hospitals, dentist offices, and veterinary practices. In the past 10 years, Ketamine has also been identified as having beneficial effects on patients who struggle with mental health and even chronic pain syndromes.
What conditions can ketamine treat?
With the approval of a prescribing physician, ketamine can be used off-label to treat both physical and psychological struggles.
At Nervana Medical we treat the following conditions with Ketamine:
Chronic Pain: Secondary to fibromyalgia, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), pain associated with cancer, and general neuropathic pain.
Mental Health: Such as depression, anxiety, suicidality, PTSD
The Burden of Depression :
300 million sufferers around the world
Leading cause of disability worldwide
1 in 5 Americans diagnosed in lifetime
Fewer than half of sufferers receive effective treatment
How does ketamine work?
Researchers are still investigating why ketamine works so well for so many conditions. What we do know is that ketamine increases the neuroplasticity of the brain, meaning it helps the brain “relearn” and “re-develop” new pathways as well as improving brain communication by stimulating the growth of neurons and synapses in the brain.
Ketamine’s Mechanism of Action
Receptor-level glutamate modulator: Glutamate is the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in mammalian brains, serving in about 60% of synapses .Ketamine normalizes glutamate levels, increasing glutamate activity where it is depressed and decreasing activity where it is in excess
Network-level optimization: With depression, brain activity may become habitual and constrained within narrow limits Ketamine normalizes brain connectivity, stimulates synaptogenesis, and temporarily induces levels of brain plasticity that approach levels seen in early development critical period, enhancing biological support for changes in belief and behavior
Anti-inflammatory: Pro-inflammatory cytokines can cause symptoms of depression, and ketamine is a powerful anti-inflammatory
Increased diversity of brain signals: The powerful psychedelic experiences that accompany entropic brain states may foster transformative subjective experiences that disrupt habits of thought and belief at the level of experience as well
Disrupts habitual cognitive activity
At Nervana Medical, we strive to provide the best patient care and experience while maintaining safety as our utmost priority. Our Ketamine clinical staff has decades of medical experience and have primarily been in intensive care settings. Not only do we maintain all of the appropriate certifications, we also take pride in additional training, certifications and national memberships to ensure we provide the highest quality of care; including Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Advanced Airway Resuscitation, American Society of Ketamine Physicians Association and Society of Critical Care Medicine .We carry state of the art equipment that goes far beyond the recommended equipment to safely care for a patient should they have any significant reactions.
Pictured: Our Medical Director, Cassie, intubating (putting a breathing tube) a COVID patient through a plexi-box. Cassie was the recipient of Intermountain Healthcare’s Utah Nurse Practitioner Clinical Excellence award in 2018 and she has published pulmonary and cardiac cases in the American Thoracic Society quick hits. She is a member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians Association and the Society of Critical Care Medicine. She has been working with Ketamine for over a decade in Critical Care Medicine and Flight Medicine.
We utilize continuous physiologic monitoring captured by FDA approved pulse decomposition analysis technology and finger sensor enable continuous, non-invasive beat-by-beat blood pressure monitoring within AAMI accuracy standards. In other words, we keep you safe and monitor your vital signs using technology that best suits your mind’s needs during your infusion because let's be honest, the last thing you want to experience during your infusion is a blood pressure cuff inflating!
Many patients feel better during the treatment itself, while others notice a marked improvement in mood or pain levels within a day of treatment. Every patient will experience different results as every patient has different depths of illness. We do recommend following our suggested protocol regarding the number of infusions within a certain time frame as these are the most current recommended guidelines for highest efficacy and longevity. We then encourage occasional, as-needed maintenance treatments in order to sustain these benefits.
While studies demonstrate that ketamine only treatment is effective for treatment resistant depression, we strongly recommend psychotherapy in combination with ketamine infusions.
In a 2019 study of 41 adults with TRD received repeated infusions of ketamine without psychotherapy and showed a robust response rate. Participants received six infusions over a two-week period 59% of treatment-resistant individuals responded with a reduction in depressive symptoms of 50% or more after an average of 3 infusions. Ketamine alone affects clinical response in about 60% of individuals.. Psychotherapy with ketamine improves the rate of clinical response and durability of effect. Human factors in the psychotherapy relationship are more important than the style of psychotherapy.
When treating mental health we believe your preparation, mindset, and willingness to put in the work are critically important. Ketamine can help you retrain your subconscious mind, but it requires a commitment from you to live your best life.
Ketamine helps make the brain prepare for changes in thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, and psychotherapy helps implement those changes.
It was incredible how much Ketamine treatments helped me. I am a 62 year old female and found myself suffering from debilitating depression and anxiety. I started working with a therapist twice a week for almost 3 months when she suggested I look into Ketamine. I felt stuck in a horrible, negative mind-loop, completely unable to regulate my emotions. The day I had suicidal ideation, I knew I had to do something.
I was scared to try an alternative method of treatment but knew I didn’t want to numb-out my feelings or deal with the side effects of SSRI’s. Having read about Ketamine, I had fears that I would go into the “K-hole” or have a “bad trip” or (my worst fear) that I would waste my time and money and get zero relief! I decided to do the 6 Ketamine treatments within 2 weeks, as recommended, and 4-5 follow-up treatments over the next few months. It was the best decision ever!
I set an “intention” for my first Ketamine treatment. After they hooked up the heart and blood pressure monitors, started the IV and turned the lights low to create a serene ambiance, I was tucked under a heated blanket and was given headphones and eyeshades. I felt very safe with Cassie and her team because of her extensive experience with the drug in emergency medicine and I knew if by any chance something happened and I needed to be resuscitated, I was in capable hands.] As the music started, I had a slight sense of euphoria with the feeling of being lifted up into an expansive blackness. For me, the visuals were not like a movie, a dream or what I would imagine hallucinogenic drugs to look like. It felt like I was being swooshed from one place to another, each area having a slightly different color palette and looking similar to lava lamp-like patterns oozing from the walls. It had no meaning, yet it felt peaceful, almost loving and full of joy. It lasted for about 50 min. Once the infusion was complete, I felt a little groggy and hungry. I was given as much time as I needed to recover. It took me about 45 minutes to an hour until I felt like taking off the eyeshades and begin to move around. I went home, went to sleep and the next day felt tired but completely able to function.
It was weird, after each treatment, a thought or impression would come to my mind that had nothing to do with my “intention.” I continued with therapy once a week. During my subsequent infusions, I would occasionally touch my leg as if to ground myself and I would say, “I am here, I am safe, I am open.”
I think it was after my fourth treatment, I felt as if it was working. It is difficult to describe, but I felt like my brain was magically re-setting. I was able to slow down thoughts and reactions and regulate my emotions with rationality. I felt calm. I began to have less and less thoughts that would spiral out of control. I felt more like myself again; I was coming out of that spinning mind-loop! It’s been 9 months and I can say that Ketamine changed me. I’ve had no depression/anxiety since then. Truthfully, I feel better than I did before the treatments. It’s truly been a blessing. - P. Moreno
I can confidently say ketamine therapy has completely changed my life. The experience I had at Nervana Medical was so compassionate, and I could tell they really cared about the service they provided. I have had ketamine therapy at other places, but the process at Nervana was the best I've ever had, especially in the way I felt afterward. After my first session, I noticed a difference in the way I felt about my depression, trauma, and anxiety. Even the way my body would react when I thought about those experiences was better. I have been able to process things more easily now, and it's allowed me to make faster progress in my healing journey than I even thought was possible. - Anonymous
*** For more studies/literature review, please visit Patients-> Knowledge Base-> Ketamine
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