Has anyone tried the ketamine infusions for depression. If so, would you please share your experience? I'm interested, but there is very little data online. Just a few clinical studies but no patient experiences. I'm always interested in "real" experiences to expand my knowledge.
Ketamine for Depression?
Question posted by Blessed716 on 12 Feb 2017
Last updated on 20 December 2021 by Kdg
Blue Shield California has started covering ketamine IV infusion treatments. My clinic sends in all the patient claims because they get better results than each patient sending in their own claims. Try to find a clinic that sends in insurance claims and has had success getting reimbursed. Blue Shield PPO is one of the Affordable Care Act/Covered California individual plans so you don’t need employer insurance. I had to meet my deductible first and then pay about 40% of the cost. After I met my out-of-pocket Max for the year, they covered 100 % of the cost. So this would not work with a high deductible plan. Hopefully this helps people find treatment that is covered by insurance. I think as more clinics start sending claims to insurance, more insurance companies will start covering this life-saving treatment. Insurance has been covering nasal spray Esketamine brand name Spravato for a couple years now. I believe insurance is billed more for Spravato than IV infusion.
My uneducated guess is that it is cheaper for insurance companies to pay for IV infusions of ketamine than for the FDA approved Spravato. Who knows... but at least the infusions are beginning to be seen as a valid treatment and not some fringe experimental thing.
I'm 75 and in fair health. I guess that at 75 fair health is about all I can ask for.
Ketamine worked for me! I had 6 infusions and after the 4th one it was like I was a different person. My inability to perform any task was gone and I looked forward to life. I seemed to be cured of my depressive state. The infusions did cost me $4,000.00 total and it would have been worth it if it lasted but,,, after 3 weeks my depression was back. I couldn't perform any task and my outlook on life was crappy. What's the purpose of living? I'm just an old fart waiting for the end. At least that was how I felt.
I couldn't afford the infusions and tried Ketamine nasal spray daily. After a couple of weeks it started working but only for an hour or two after the spray. I was using a compounded ketamine spray at home. I used the Ketamine nasal spray twice daily since I started and I told my doctor that it's kind of like speed except it made me hungry. I got out of bed and actually did stuff and I even stopped a couple of times with no withdrawal or dependence.
For me, the Ketamine worked. The nasal spray worked but it's necessary to take it daily. Makes me dizzy for an hour so I can't go anywhere for about an hour but after that I feel like I've got something to look forward to in life.
Hope it continues to work.
Here is what I know about Ketamine. There are two forms, IV and nasal spray (Esketamine). The infusions are much more intense than the Esketamine spray (tho you can still have dissociation with Esketamine), are expensive (a full round of IV treatment will run ~ $3,000), seem to be more effective than Esketamine, are not covered by any sort of insurance, and can be very disturbing at the time (people call it going into a K hole). There is a program for Esketamine (sponsored by the company that makes it) and if you qualify (most people do) the treatments are very inexpensive. For Esketamine you sign up for a round of two treatments per week for a few weeks, then if it is successful you go to one treatment per week, or every two weeks. They start Esketamine treatment at a low dose, but I'm told always end up increasing the dose on the 2nd visit. The range of experiences are from pleasant to awful, and the success rate seems to be around 30% or so.
It doesn't "cure" depression, but seems according to what most say makes things manageable. Like everything, there are a vast range of experiences (from saved my life to the worst thing I ever did). Importantly, nothing is known about the long term effects (past a year), and it can cause serious bladder issues, and this is likely related to dose/length of treatment. The downside for the treatment is you can't drive that day, someone has to take you to and from the treatment. Also, I've heard you can "fail" at Esketamine an IV still may work - so you could try both.
I was diagnosed with treatment resistant depression and PTSD. I’ve received ketamine infusions and it saved my life and gave me back the will to live. Prior to ketamine, I tried too many medications to name and many other therapies and treatments. You have to go into it with an open mind and also I tried different things to do during the infusion and what works best for me is to simply shut my eyes and think of positive things. If I experience anxiety or negative thoughts, I have key words I say to myself over and over until it passes. Words like love picturing a heart or hope picturing a rainbow or peace picturing a dove. Some people read or sleep or listen to music. You have to find what works best for you. There is also esketamine which is a nasal spray. The doctor bases the dosage on your weight. The only downside i found is unless you can get it covered, it’s usually expensive.
My medical chart says I have major depression, generalized anxiety, chronic pain, and PTSD but I'd sum it up with the word 'pressure'. I've tried an array of things including 12+ medications, 25 sessions of TMS, 8 ECT and 6 IV ketamine infusions. None worked for long term but whereas ECT landed hard on my nervous system, ketamine was a wonderful experience. I highly recommend it as it does work for some long term. It helped me enough to return to work although each successive treatment worked less and less. Bringing in soothing supportive music for the infusion is good.
I know this answer is late, but I just had to add my experience in the hopes that it may help someone who lands here to read it. I have been having Ketamine infusion therapy for 3 years now. I am the happiest and healthiest I have ever been in my life. I had TRD that I have battled for as long as I can remember. The first symptoms of depression started for me when I was 5 years old, and got so bad that I attempted suicide as a teen. There were other attempts over the years, and the last one at age 48 put me in the hospital in ICU, then a treatment facility that I was discharged from because my insurance ran out, even though I told the staff that I was still suicidal. I found a ketamine clinic near my home and got my psychiatrist to refer me. It was the BEST decision I ever made. After the initial treatment, I now just go about every 2-3 months and get an infusion. Then I'm good to go for another 3 or so.
Recently my doctor added the nasal spray as well (not the new esketamine, but a compounded ketamine nasal spray that is only $45) It seems to help during the last month particularly before I go back for an infusion. My insurance does not pay for any of this, but I'd rather pay out of my pocket than keep taking medicines with too many side effects and that just plain don't work. As a side note, I no longer take any other medications. Good luck.
My wife tried ketamine infusion treatment for her depression and anxiety. The first treatment left her feeling very foggy. The second treatment brought suicidal ideations. The clinic we went to was very dismissive of this, and told us to continue. The 3rd - 5th treatments they combined with Versed, a benzodiazepine, and after those treatments she was like a zombie. The day of the 6th treatment she was at her worst, she tried reaching out to the clinic, stating she felt extremely suicidal but they brushed it off and told her to stop treatment. Within 10 minutes of the conversation she attempted suicide. There is not enough information out there, and studies have shown that Ketamine can increase depression and cause dissociation. The risk are too high and if we would have known that going in, we would not have tried this treatment.
I've had TRD for 25 years. For 2 years prior to trying Ketamine I had been taking Nuvigil and it not only saved my life but gave it back to me. It allowed me to feel peace of mind, contentment, pleasure and also helped me regain the passion for my husband that had been missing for a long time. There weren't enough hours in the day for all I wanted to do. My doctor slowly increased the dose over time and it always worked again with no side effects.Since I am over the limit recommended for people with Narcolepsy, no one will prescribed an inceased dosage. Been going downhill for 6 months. My doctor mentioned Ketamine. I was skeptical to say the least since meds, ECT and TMS have not worked. So I had my 4th Ketamine infusion yesterday. Seems that each treatment is more unpleasant than the previous. The progress does not compare to what Nuvigil has done for me. I only have 2 treatments left and feel that I am worse than when I started. What would you do? And why can't I continue using the one thing that works? I'm ready to give up.
I have been dealing with anxiety, depression, panic disorder, bipolar II, and finally Borderline Personality Disorder... a nice little combo that makes me super fun to be around. It’s been about 12 years and I am now 28. I have been on so many combinations of psych meds that I can’t even list them... anti depressants, anti anxiety, anti psychotics, mood stabilizers, anti psychotics... nothing works for more then a few months at best. I have been searching for a ketamine center since it was in trials and finally there is one by me! I started infusions last week and I have felt a lot of relief. I still feel what I am going to feel only it’s less and does not seem like such a horrible thing just like a normal thing that will pass shortly. I am so happy I started this but I also feel a bit lonely because I am the only person I know who is doing this. No one understands what the experience is like.
I have been having feelings while I am getting the infusion that are so hard to talk about because no one gets it. If anyone wants to talk via fb messenger I would love to get some insight and support and be a supporter.
I am 61 years old, have been very depressed and anxious most of my life, but it has worsened greatly as I have gotten older. I have bipolar disorder. I have tried so many different types of drugs, with no long-term effect, that I had just about given up hope that I would ever be able to be "normal", i.e., going to grocery store, doing household chores or on worst days, getting out of bed. I am retired and feel so saddened that I can only listen to friends tell about their vacations and never go myself. I started getting ketamine infusions in March. The first 3 weeks of April were the first time in ages I hadn't woken up feeling depressed. After that, even though I continued to get infusions, I was still mildly depressed for another month, but that was so much better than before. Now, since the middle of June, my depression has not returned. I go once a week for the ketamine and Dr. Is trying to stretch to 2 wks., 3 wks. etc.
As soon as I start getting the early feelings of depression coming on, I go in right away for another treatment. I almost gave up along the way, and now I'm so glad I didn't. Be forewarned though, the treatment is like a controlled drug trip! Not some mild dissociated state with colors! Takes about an hour, recovery about 15-30 minutes. Nurse there entire time. In comfortable recliner, sleep mask, dim room, headphones with very relaxing instrumental music. Any questions, just ask! I've had quite a few now. More difficult results because of age and years of bipolar/meds. Good Luck to all who have suffered like I do!
Aloha, I have the treatment resistant depression and chronic pain. I am in the same situation, everybody talks about it, they may have heard how well it works, yet i have not been able to find any info from a real person. I have been strung along from my Psych, since August, for a referral, and went searching on my own, we have limited providers in HI. ECT a no go for me and TMS is contraindicated because I have ( had) manic episodes in the history. I finally found a Pain specialist who does the Ketamine infusion / and nasal spray compound ( if indictated). I go Monday Nov. 20th, 2017 for my 1st time. I am hoping for the best... ... I will post my experience when I feel I can adequately explain it. I have read its not an instant fix, but it helps you move along with things you weren't doing when in the black hole, so you feel better and can build on that.
I see you posted this in Feb. and there are comments, have you been able to try it?
I hope you are well and if you were able to try it that you would share your thoughts. (((Huggs))) and sharing is caring.
I am a bipolar 74 year old male on a 10 year bout of chronic drug resistant depression that responds to sleep deprivation. I do pretty well when I am working and sleeping no more than 4.5 hours a night. I am getting to old to do that my heart starts skipping too many beats.
I took 6 infusions on was was supposed to be on Tuesday and Friday that had a skip in in due the doctor having other plans one day. It was very successful. The Ketamine had a real added benefit in totally stopping the muscle spasms from Multiple Sclerosis. I am not sure how long it would have lasted the pain from the muscle spasms was so bad in 3 weeks that I started 100 mg dose of Ketamine as a Nasal spray for the muscle spasms and hopefully to maintain the remission of depression.
After 4 or 5 moths the nasal spray is great for muscle spasms and OK for maintenance of remission of depression. I should go back for booster infusion for depression. I think one should view the Ketamine treatment as an intervention to quickly alleviate depression that still needs treatment and realize you may have to go back for and additional infusion 2 to 4 times a year as well as continue drug treatment and other therapy.
Good luck with your depression,
I am going to begin the Ketamine journey on March 20 with my first infusion. I am sorry that the nasal sprays did not work yet. The research i have done online said that the only really effective way to get the full effect was intravenously. I have had treatment resistant major depression for 15 years. Been on almost every drug out there. I was doing "ok" for me for a while when the black hole came back in January. I just can't fight it the old way anymore. I am not overly optimistic. They say the longer you have had depression and the more meds you have been on and the older you are the less likely you will respond positively to it. I am 56, and it's been since 2002.
But I am thinking that after two visits we will know if it "took" or not - as opposed to the BS we all deal with in changing these damn meds right?
Btw, check into a company called GENESIGHT! They do genetic testing from a cheek swab, and give you a detailed report on which antidepressants you are genetically not compatible with and those you might be! I just learned that I have a gene that slows down the mechanism of all SSRIs. I should not be using them to treat my depression WHICH I HAVE BEEN.
A wonderful tool for us to have finally!!
Best of luck to everybody :)
I've had treatment resistant depression for about 5 years, since losing my 16-year job and then my father's death (I had also been caring for him). I've tried 2-3 meds in each class of anti-depressants. I also tried TMS treatment (transcranial magnetic stimulation) daily for 36 weekdays in-a-row at a local psychiatric hospital, which claims 75% improvement in depression symptoms. It helped me to get out of the house every day, but other than that, no lasting relief.
Just today, my psychiatrist mentioned Ketamine. After some discussion, he faxed an order to a compounding pharmacy which puts it in nasal spray form. He has 2 patients who are having some positive response from it, and it's one thing I haven't tried yet. He thought the cost was about $50 for 20 ml which should last months based on my dosage.
Once received, I will take one 10mg/ml spray in one nostril 3-4 times in a 36 hour period (every 8 hours or so). Then repeat that after 1 week, then repeat again after 2 more weeks, and again after 3 more weeks, then after 4 weeks... increasing the length in between dosages by a week each time. I will stop if I have any worrisome or very unpleasant side effects (which vary greatly - I'm particularly hoping for some mind-bending hallucinations).
I should receive it in the mail by the end of this week/early next week and will come back here and detail how things are going along the way. Fingers crossed!!
I'm not sure if this qualifies but I do suffer from quite unpleasant depression most of the time. A few years ago I had some surgery where they used a Fentanyl/Ketamine combo for analgesia. It had no impact on my state of mind but it was good for what it was being used for.
- Ketamine uses and safety info
- Ketamine information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side effects of Ketamine (detailed)
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