What is Ketamine?

When patients first reach out to MindPeace Clinics, located in Arlington, Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia, one of their first questions is “What is Ketamine?” Many patients have little to no experience with this medication in a medical setting, and want to learn more before moving forward with this potentially life changing treatment.

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that was first approved by the FDA in 1970. Discovered in the early 1960s, ketamine underwent rigorous testing to ensure its safety and efficacy as a general anesthetic. One of Ketamine’s first practical applications was to help injured soldiers during Vietnam. Over the past 20 years, physicians worldwide have been studying the application of ketamine to treat mood disorders and chronic pain syndromes using sub-anesthetic doses. Ketamine can be administered via many different routes, including nasal spray and intravenous infusions, with results of more than 70% of patients experiencing more than 50% reduction of their symptoms.  Ketamine works on blocking the NMDA receptors and then activating another receptor, AMPA, which begins the process of having the cells produce Growth (G) Proteins that instruct the nerves to produce dendritic spines, which are branches of the nerve and how the cells communicate with one another.   This has the effect of increasing Glutamate, which is an excitatory neurotransmitter, and decreasing GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Occasionally, some patients experience mild side effects. The most common side effects are nausea and rarely vomiting.  Other patients experience altered perceptions of their senses, but they do not hallucinate.  Other possible side effects include blood pressure changes and an increased heart rate.  At MindPeace Clinics, all treatments are monitored by an Attending Physician and Registered Nurse, to ensure we provide the highest quality and standard of care during each treatment.

Ketamine is FDA Approved to be used as an anesthetic, it’s use to treat mood disorders is considered an off label use.  Recently, Johnson and Johnson did a series of trials and the FDA approved Esketamine (Spravato) Nasal Spray for the use with Major Depression.  Esketamine is an enantiomere of ketamine, so effectively the same molecule.  The approval from the FDA for Esketamine to treat Suicidal Ideation and Major Depression has been an essential development in the treatment of our patients, allowing our clinic to offer a treatment that is covered by most insurance companies. This has been such an amazing breakthrough for many of our patients.

Since MindPeace Clinic was first established in 2017, we have ensured that we educate our patients while providing them with the highest standard of care. Please let us know if you have any questions about ketamine or how it works. You can fill out a form here and we will contact you, or you can send us an email at admin@mindpeaceclinic.com. Our team here at MindPeace Clinics looks forward to answering your questions providing any support we can.