Research & Science: Ketamine Treatments
Here you will find valuable resources of news articles and scientific research that discuss the use of ketamine infusion therapy and how it has been used for the treatment of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, fibromyalgia, suicide ideation, and more.
Long-Term Symptom Relief
Ketamine can cause improvements in mood and pain symptoms by blocking the transmission of pain signals and boosting levels of important neuro-chemicals that help improve mood.
Ketamine is administered in subanesthetic doses and will be monitored by a qualified anesthesia professional at all times. Unlike traditional treatments, ketamine is safe and patients reported minimal side effects.
Fast & Effective
Ketamine infusion therapy can help patients feel better within hours of treatment and could potentially save the lives of those struggling from pain and mental health conditions.
Depression is a common mental health condition caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and social factors. While there are traditional treatment options, many can be ineffective, cause significant side effects, or require a significant time commitment.
Psychotherapy is beneficial but can take months to years to work through psychological issues. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been used to combat treatment-resistant depression but it is considered barbaric by some and can lead to memory impairment. In addition, some patients are placed on multiple psychiatric medications leading to drug interactions and unwanted side effects. Ketamine therapy has proven to be a viable and effective treatment option for patients due to its significant symptom relief.
- According to data from the NIMH, an estimated 16 million adults experienced at least one episode of major depression in 2014.
- Research has shown that only 30-40% of patients respond to antidepressants after a full course of treatment.
- The World Health Organization recently declared depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide.
- Suicides are now the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages (CDC).
Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard: Effects of Intravenous Ketamine on Explicit and Implicit Measures of Suicidality in Treatment-Resistant Depression by Rebecca B. Price, Matthew K. Nock, et al
The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology: A preliminary naturalistic study of low-dose ketamine for depression and suicide ideation in the emergency department by Gregory Luke Larkin & Annette L. Beautrais
The American Journal of Psychiatry: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Dose-Frequency Study of Intravenous Ketamine in Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression by Jaskaran B. Singh, MD, Maggie Fedgchin, PharmD, et al
Ketamine infusions have been successfully used to treat CRPS symptoms for over 10 years. Ketamine has a very selective effect on relieving pain due to CRPS without causing prolonged sedation or respiratory depression.
CRPS is a pain syndrome, where symptoms are generated by intense and prolonged painful stimulus, causing an increase in the release of the neuro-transmitter glutamate. Ketamine blocks glutamate, and by doing so, it not only decreases pain from CRPS, but it also decreases the central sensitization that develops in the disorder. This is why ketamine can bring weeks and months of relief after multiple infusions.
Correll GE, Maleki J, Gracely EJ, Muir JJ, Harbut RE. Subanesthetic ketamine infusion therapy: a retrospective analysis of a novel therapeutic approach to complex regional pain syndrome. Pain Med. 2004 Sep. 5(3):263-75.
Kiefer RT, Rohr P, Ploppa A, Dieterich HJ, Grothusen J, Koffler S, et al. Efficacy of ketamine in anesthetic dosage for the treatment of refractory complex regional pain syndrome: an open-label phase II study. Pain Med. 2008 Nov. 9(8):1173-201.
Sigtermans MJ, van Hilten JJ, Bauer MC, Arbous MS, Marinus J, Sarton EY. Ketamine produces effective and long-term pain relief in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1. Pain. 2009 Oct. 145(3):304-11.
Schwartzman RJ, Alexander GM, Grothusen JR, Paylor T, Reichenberger E, Perreault M. Outpatient intravenous ketamine for the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome: a double-blind placebo controlled study. Pain. 2009 Dec 15. 147(1-3):107-15.
Fibromyalgia is a fairly common syndrome that involves persistent widespread pain, stiffness, fatigue, impaired sleep, mood dysregulation, and cognitive difficulties. It is the most common ailment in which a person has chronic, generalized pain and tenderness in joints and muscles. Fibromyalgia is frequently comorbid with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It is estimated that 2-4% of Americans are affected by this disease with approximately 12 million Americans currently living with fibromyalgia.
This disorder is more commonly found in females and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50. Fibromyalgia is one of the most difficult diagnosis to make as its symptoms overlap with many other disorders. Often patients have been suffering for years before they are given an accurate diagnosis. Research has shown that patients with this disorder show abnormalities in pain processing by the central nervous system. Based on recent research, Ketamine has shown incredible promise in treating this debilitating condition.
Obsessions are defined as intrusive, recurrent thoughts that are distressing, such as the fear of germs or contamination. Compulsions are behaviors that people feel compelled to perform to alleviate an obsessive thought. Excessive handwashing, checking rituals, and counting are examples.
Traditional first line treatment of OCD includes SSRI medications, such as Prozac, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). However, treatment is only effective in a small minority of patients. Medications are associated with unwanted adverse side effects, and the response to CBT can be limited. Residual symptoms usually continue to affect patients, with high relapse rates being common.
Some have advocated for the use of brain surgery (Deep Brain Stimulation) to treat severe cases of OCD. However, ketamine is a promising option which is non-invasive, safer, and better tolerated. Multiple research trials are currently underway to study the use of Ketamine for OCD.
- Ketamine can treat co-morbid depression which is found in 30-50% of OCD patients.
- In one study, rapid relief of OCD symptoms was seen in 50% of participants after a single ketamine infusion.
- Ketamine has been shown to treat symptoms of OCD through its effects on Glutaminergic transmission in the brain.
PTSD is prevalent in almost 8% of the general population, particularly among survivors of war, terrorist attacks, motor vehicle accidents, burns and interpersonal violence. Experiencing a traumatic event can affect people in different ways at both a biological and psychological level.
Common symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories, avoidance, and changes in mood. Disturbances in sleep, energy, and memory are also seen as a result of dysregulation in the brain.
Many of the standard treatments for PTSD are ineffective with most patients unable to find relief of their symptoms. Traditionally, antidepressants and psychotherapy have been used to treat PTSD but as in depression only a minority of patients respond to treatment.
Ketamine has shown great promise in treating the core symptoms of PTSD. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, the severity of PTSD symptoms were significantly reduced in patients with chronic PTSD twenty four hours after receiving a single infusion of IV administered Ketamine.
Suicide, the intentional act of taking one’s life, often occurs as a result of a person not being able to cope with a significant stressor while suffering from a mental illness. The loss of a job, a death in the family, or even legal problems are often precipitating events that can lead to self-harm.
Throughout the United States, we are currently seeing a crisis of epidemic proportions in terms of the amount of deaths attributed to suicide. The majority of people who commit suicide usually have depression and/or another underlying disorder that is either undiagnosed or inadequately treated.
Ketamine has been shown to reduce suicidal thoughts due to its robust antidepressant effects. It works quickly with benefits seen after only 40 minutes of treatment in some cases. A recent study completed at Massachusetts General Hospital demonstrated sustained remission of suicidal ideation for up to 3 months in several patients who received a trial of Ketamine infusions. Larger, more in-depth clinical trials exploring the benefits of Ketamine in reducing suicides are currently underway.
Suicidal Ideation Warning Signs
- Feeling hopeless with no reason to live.
- Complaints of unbearable emotional pain.
- Talking about wanting to die.
- Withdrawal from friends/family.
- Increased levels of anxiety.
- Preoccupation with death.
- Marked change in mood or behavior.