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Ketamine Infusions

MedHealth 360

Introduction

Ketamine was once used mainly as an anesthetic on battlefields and in operating rooms. Now this medication is gaining ground as a promising treatment for some cases of major depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In the US, recent estimates show 16 million adults had an episode of major depression in the course of a year. Suicide rates rose substantially between 1999 and 2016, increasing by more than 30% in 25 states. Because of its rapid action, ketamine could have a role to play in helping to prevent suicide. It is also commonly used to help with chronic pain and can be effective for up to 3 months.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy has been shown to Improve the Symptoms of Depression in up to 70% of Patients after even a Single Treatment

A major depressive episode may include these symptoms:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed.

What about severe depression or suicidal thoughts?

Patients with severe depression or suicidal thoughts require evaluation by a psychiatrist or emergency room physician.  Even then, however, testosterone levels should be checked and treated if it is low.  If the condition is not urgent or emergent, patients suffering from severe depression or suicidal thoughts should consider Ketamine Infusion Therapy, which has been shown to be 80% effective in 80% of patients after a SINGLE dose.  Read more about Ketamine Infusions here.

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Ketamine Infusions

Starts at $500

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Why is ketamine exciting for treating depression?

If a person responds to ketamine, it can rapidly reduce suicidality (life-threatening thoughts and acts) and relieve other serious symptoms of depression. Ketamine also can be effective for treating depression combined with anxiety.

Other treatments for suicidal thoughts and depression often take weeks or even months to take effect, and some people need to try several medications or approaches to gain relief. This is true for talk therapies, antidepressant medicines, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is currently the most effective treatment for major depression that fails to respond to other therapies.

How does ketamine work?

It’s not entirely clear how ketamine works. Because it exerts an antidepressant effect through a new mechanism, ketamine may be able to help people successfully manage depression when other treatments have not worked.

One likely target for ketamine is NMDA receptors in the brain. By binding to these receptors, ketamine appears to increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate in the spaces between neurons. Glutamate then activates connections in another receptor, called the AMPA receptor. Together, the initial blockade of NMDA receptors and activation of AMPA receptors lead to the release of other molecules that help neurons communicate with each other along new pathways. Known as synaptogenesis, this process likely affects mood, thought patterns, and cognition.

Ketamine also may influence depression in other ways. For example, it might reduce signals involved in inflammation, which has been linked to mood disorders, or facilitate communication within specific areas in the brain. Most likely, ketamine works in several ways at the same time, many of which are being studied.

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