Common Questions About Ketamine

WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT DR. MACDONALD’S KETAMINE PRACTICE?

Several different kinds of doctors administer ketamine, including anesthesia doctors, emergency doctors, and psychiatrists.  Though many doctors have experience with ketamine, psychiatrists are the medical doctors who are specially trained to treat depression, PTSD, and addiction.  Dr. MacDonald, as a psychiatrist, has special expertise in the treatment of these mental health issues. Therefore, with Dr. MacDonald, your entire treatment will be addressed (including therapy and lifestyle interventions): his practice is not just a ketamine clinic. Moreover, Dr. MacDonald’s experience with ketamine and his office setting are all designed to be conducive to a safe, personal, pleasant experience with ketamine treatment.  

HOW IS KETAMINE GIVEN AT DR. MACDONALD’S PRACTICE?

Ketamine, due to its unique molecular structure, can be administered in a variety of ways: 1. via a ketamine infusion in a vein (IV); 2. via an intramuscular injection (IM); 3. intranasally (via nasal spray); 4. under the tongue (sublingually), or even 5. orally.  

All of these methods have published studies describing and supporting their benefit and safety in treating depression (see KETAMINE RESEARCH). The IV administration method has far and away the most published research supporting its use. 

For treatment resistant depression and other disabling psychiatric conditions, Dr. MacDonald prefers the IM route of administration, delivered vis a well-tolerated shot in the upper arm.  This may be able to be transitioned to the sublingual (under the tongue) route over time, saving considerable time and money. This is also the preferred form for PTSD and addiction.

For ketamine psychotherapy, Dr. MacDonald, prefers a “gentler” approach, and typically starts with sublingual (under the tongue) treatment. The sublingual approach allows a person to take a more active role in their therapy session.  

HOW DO I PAY FOR TREATMENT ? DOES INSURANCE PAY FOR KETAMINE?

We have payment plans for a course of ketamine treatment for depression; our prices are comparable to the community standard, where a single treatment costs between 300 and 500 dollars.  Please contact us directly for details. This arrangement is necessary as most forms of ketamine treatment are not covered by insurance. We can discuss submitting out of network billing for the cost of therapy, which may defray much of the cost of treatment, depending on your insurance.

IS KETAMINE ADDICTIVE?

There have been case reports of patients who initially started using ketamine recreationally and became addicted.  Professionals who use low-dose ketamine for depression report this side effect rarely if ever, especially with careful screening and education.  Dr. MacDonald has extensive experience assessing and treating addiction, and will monitor for this very rare side effect.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF KETAMINE?

On the short-term, ketamine not uncommonly causes altered states of consciousness (which are sometimes disconcerting), visual changes, nausea and increases in blood pressure.  

Other risks–most commonly observed in chronic, higher-dose users–include potential cognitive changes and effects on the bladder.  Careful monitoring for these side effects is part of treatment.