Ketamine is a novel treatment option for people who traditional treatments for depression such as antidepressants or psychotherapy have been ineffective. When administered at low doses, ketamine has been reliably shown to be effective at alleviating symptoms of depression. Furthermore, ketamine is fast-acting – studies have shown patients that respond can feel better in just 1-2 treatments, compared to antidepressants which can take 4 or more weeks to start working. Dr. Fruitman and the staff at South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center are experienced in ketamine administration, and are committed to working with you to find a treatment that provides lasting relief.
We personalize every single treatment plan to your needs and medical history. If after two sessions you do not experience improvement from your depressive symptoms, we discontinue treatment and reevaluate your treatment options.
Many patients who were previously unsuccessful in treating their depression have found success with ketamine, especially as a bridge to oral medication. The goals of the treatment are rapid recovery, stabilization, and maintenance of therapeutic effect. Ketamine maintenance is possible, if absolutely necessary.
Since its FDA approval in 1970, ketamine has been widely used as an anesthetic for minor surgical and outpatient procedures. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medications for its safety and effectiveness. In fact, in many countries it is even administered by non-physicians.
When used as a treatment for depression, the administered dose is significantly smaller than when used as an anesthetic (about ¼ the dose). In such quantities, ketamine has few side effects. The most common are a dream-like feeling similar to mild intoxication, though dizziness, and mild nausea may occur.
At South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center, we are committed to your safety. We individualize each treatment and carefully observe our patients to ensure both safety and wellbeing. During a procedure, we monitor our patients’ vital signs, oxygen saturation, and general comfort levels. If necessary, additional medication is available to reduce potential side effects.
Expect a pleasant experience. When a patient arrives, they are escorted to a private room to encourage relaxation during the procedure. The medical team takes initial vital signs, and if everything is appropriate, we administer the prescribed dose of ketamine. During the treatment, the patient is awake but feels mildly intoxicated for less than two hours. Over the course of the session, we continue to monitor the patient’s vitals and overall comfort.
Patients are expected to stay at our office for two hours during the procedure. Following the treatment, patients may continue with their daily activities.
How it Works
Ketamine has generated a lot of excitement in the field of psychiatry because it both acts quickly and has a lasting effect. Ketamine reduces symptoms of depression in two ways: it increases the amount of the chemical messenger glutamate, and also causes the growth of new connections between neurons.
While there is still a great deal of research being conducted into the mechanism of ketamine’s anti-depressive effect, public clinical trials have demonstrated that ketamine is able to significantly alleviate symptoms of depression in individuals who have been found previous treatments unsuccessful.
What to Expect
Initial Phone Call
- During this initial telephone conversation, we will gather some basic information and address any questions you may have regarding Ketamine therapy. At this time we will also set up an initial consultation with Dr. Fruitman. If you have questions about pricing or financing options, they can be discussed at this time or at the consultation in person.
- If you are interested in Ketamine therapy, discussing your treatment options, or simply finding out more information, please contact us at 516-295-4867.
- During this meeting you will meet with Dr. Fruitman and the rest of the staff here at South Shore Neuropsychiatric Center. We will discuss your medical and social histories, your treatments goals, and how we can best meet your needs. If it is determined that Ketamine is the best treatment plan for you, we will schedule the first treatment appointment, and also discuss financing options.
- Note that because each ketamine treatment plan differs by patient, pricing is per session.
First and Second Treatments
- The first two appointment are to determine if ketamine treatment will work for you. Although clinical data has shown that the majority of patients experience relief using this procedure, not everyone benefits equally. If after the second treatment your depressive symptoms have not decreased, we will discontinue treatment and discuss how to move forward.
- If the first two treatment sessions have proven effective, Dr. Fruitman will work with you to develop a treatment plan. Typically, treatments would occur twice a week for the initial two weeks and once weekly after that. We typically expect patients to receive a total of 12 to 16 treatments.
Learn About the Science Behind Ketamine
Many traditional antidepressants work by increasing the presence of certain chemical messengers in the brain, called neurotransmitters. Some of the most common medications, which are SSRIs and SNRIs, work by preventing neurons (brain cells) from reabsorbing the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Once levels of these messengers have stabilized, it is believed that many connections in the brain which regulate mood are strengthened, resulting in the alleviation of depressive symptoms.
However for a considerable number of people with depression, SSRIs and SNRIs are not effective. While scientists are not yet certain why this is the case, ketamine presents an important, alternative treatment option.
In contrast to most antidepressants, ketamine works on a different type of neurotransmitter, called glutamate. Ketamine blocks the NMDA (N-Methyl-D- Aspartate) glutamate receptor. In doing so, ketamine causes the release of BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor).
BDNF is a very important chemical for the growth and maintenance of neurons and their connections. It helps neurons form new connections and strengthen old ones. It is believed that by increasing BDNF, ketamine helps strengthen and repair the neuronal connections that were damaged by depression.