Intranasal Ketamine Infusion

Major depression is a debilitating brain disorder that affects one in ten adults. It is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain that results in a persistent state of sadness and loss of interest in, or pleasure from normal activities. Individuals with depression that have been resistant to usual treatments may give up hope for improvement. Ketamine administration is a new treatment intervention that has shown great promise for these patients.

UC Health offers intranasal ketamine infusion as an innovative treatment that may help patients coping with treatment resistant depression. Intranasal administration does not require intravenous access and can be done in our offices.

Financial Obligations

Intranasal ketamine infusion is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression or other psychiatric illnesses and may not be covered by your insurance provider. Visit https://uchealth.com/financial/ for questions regarding insurance and billing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why intranasal ketamine infusion?
Ketamine blocks an important nerve cell receptor, called the NMDA receptor, which is located in nerve cells that would otherwise be stimulated by a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Depression has been linked to activity changes in areas of the brain stimulated by these nerve cells; ketamine has been hypothesized to work by influencing these brain regions. In clinical studies, some patients reported rapid relief in their symptoms of depression.

How is intranasal ketamine infusion administered?
Ketamine is administered in our offices using an atomizer or inhaler applied to both nostrils in turn. After receiving ketamine, all patients are watched closely for an hour and are then asked to remain in our waiting area for an additional hour to monitor for possible side effects.

How many sessions will I need?
Once approved by a psychiatrist for ketamine, patients will typically receive four to eight treatments over two to four weeks—two treatments per week.

What are the side effects?
Ketamine can be associated with some potentially serious side effects. These will be discussed at length with the patient prior to receiving the medication, and patients will have an opportunity to ask any questions they might have.
For safety, patients cannot drive after treatments and will need a ride home.

How soon would benefits of ketamine treatment be apparent?
Some clinical studies have shown a rapid response to ketamine, with some patients experiencing very rapid symptom improvement. However, everyone is different and some patients may notice benefits over a longer period of time. During treatment, a psychiatrist will consult with you to evaluate your progress.

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