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IV Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Regain hope where medications have failed.

Ketamine treats the common source of several mental health conditions:

  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Addiction or compulsion, including substance use and eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders, including OCD and PTSD

It might also be useful in cases of chronic pain.

Alongside sessions guided by a licensed therapist (often a psychologist), this IV treatment offers rapid relief and long-term control.

Reclaim clarity and peace. With Forum Health, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be part of a comprehensive plan.


Forum Health does it better.

Some clinics treat ketamine as a magical cure-all. At Forum Health, it’s just one option available to patients as part of their personalized care plan.

With known potential for abuse, ketamine can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Forum Health providers are vigilant. We start by building a relationship with each patient. Then we carefully assess the risks and benefits of ketamine therapy.

Every treatment takes place at a Forum Health practice. And when used for psychiatric diagnosis, a licensed psychologist is always in the room.

Brand-name nasal spray esketamine for treatment-resistant depression has a list price between $4,720 and $6,785.1 Forum Health’s compounded IV solution is a more cost-effective approach.

Improve your well-being — safely and effectively.

Call our Utah practice to schedule ketamine IV therapy today.

How does ketamine work?

To learn why ketamine is effective, it’s helpful to understand how your brain can be molded by experiences — and how that process can be harmful.

Mental illness can be caused by several factors. These include environmental stresses, genetics, and chemical imbalances. Many times, even after the underlying causes are resolved, the brain remains damaged.

The lateral habenula — an anti-reward center in your brain — helps you learn from and respond to unpleasant events. But over time, repeated negative experience can lead to a dysfunctional response. The lateral habenula then prevents the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, leading to feelings of despair.

“Essentially, it’s a loop in the brain of messages that aren’t true. Your brain is telling you you’re not safe. It’s sending a message that leads to depression.”

Andrew Petersen, DO

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. At high doses, it causes a short window of hallucination and sensory distortion. In this state, users feel detached and out of control. Ketamine can be abused, but the drug’s dissociative effect also has wide-ranging therapeutic potential for mental health.

Ketamine blocks NMDA receptors in the lateral habenula that serve as docking ports for glutamate — a neurotransmitter key to mental illness. This inhibits the neural communication that causes the lateral habenula to fire.

During this temporary reprieve, you can analyze experiences separately from their related emotions. Dissociation gives your brain the space to overcome emotional barriers and restore damaged neurological pathways.

For certain psychiatric issues, a high dose with dissociative effect is helpful. And in these instances, we’ve found that guided therapy with a psychologist or other licensed therapist can make ketamine substantially more effective.

For issues like chronic pain, a lower regular dose can be effective without causing dissociation or the need for guided therapy.

Safety & Effectiveness

An emerging treatment, ketamine is still being studied and understood. But as an early adopter, Forum Health has seen its game-changing potential realized. And many studies have found that it’s both safe and effective.

The FDA recently approved a nasal spray form of esketamine, a sister drug to ketamine, for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) after a Phase 3 clinical trial. It’s likely that ketamine has the same effect and safety — for a lower cost. But since it can no longer be patented, no company will spend the money to get ketamine approved in the same way.

Ketamine infusion produces a rapid and robust antidepressant effect, according to an analysis of seven randomized clinical trials.2

A more recent study found that repeated ketamine treatment was well tolerated while producing quick and persistent relief of TRD symptoms.3

Another report suggests strong evidence for the rapid antidepressant effects of a single intravenous ketamine infusion — for both treatment-resistant major depressive disorder and bipolar depression. It also found that IV ketamine is safe and well tolerated when administered by trained professionals.4

IV ketamine can also reduce suicidal ideation, suggests an analysis of 24 articles — including clinical trials, meta-analyses, case series, and case reports.5
A systematic review suggests that ketamine can be an effective treatment across multiple substances of abuse6:
  • For alcohol and opioid use disorders, a single ketamine infusion significantly improved abstinence for up to two years.
  • For cocaine use disorder, ketamine treatment resulted in improved craving and motivation, as well as decreased usage.
In one study, most patients with long histories of eating disorder showed prolonged remission when treated with intermittent ketamine infusions.7
Multiple studies have shown that ketamine is an effective treatment for people with generalized or social anxiety disorders:
  • Ketamine improved scores on the Marks and Mathews Fear Questionnaire.8
  • Treatment-resistant patients reported reduced anxiety for up to seven days.9
  • During maintenance treatment with ketamine, most patients reported ongoing improvements in social or work functioning.10
A randomized controlled trial on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) found that a single treatment with IV ketamine helped some patients for more than a week.11

In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ketamine might enable the brain to reconsolidate memory and release trauma12:
  • A double-blind study showed that ketamine infusion rapidly and significantly reduced symptom severity.13
  • Another study found that ketamine can reduce passive avoidance learning after witnessing a traumatic event.14
A randomized placebo-controlled trial showed that ketamine is effective and safe for opioid-tolerant chronic pain.15

In a study of patients with neuropathic pain from major limb injuries sustained in combat, low-dose IV ketamine infusion effectively relieved pain.16

Several case reports have found that ketamine is an option for phantom pain:
  • Treatment with IV ketamine brought complete remission of phantom limb pain that resisted routine forms of treatment.17
  • Ketamine was effective in reducing the intensity of phantom limb pain.18
  • Pain not managed by opioids responded to a low-dose IV infusion of ketamine.19

Get a free 15-minute consultation.

Schedule a short phone call to discuss cost, membership options, and any questions you might have about Forum Health.

References

1. Reuters, “J&J Prices Ketamine-Like Depression Treatment at $590-$885 for Two Doses,” March 2019.

2. D. Jeffrey Newport et al., “Ketamine and Other NMDA Antagonists: Early Clinical Trials and Possible Mechanisms in Depression,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, October 2015.

3. Yoav Domany et al., “Repeated Oral Ketamine for Out-Patient Treatment of Resistant Depression: Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Proof-of-Concept Study,” The British Journal of Psychiatry, January 2019.

4. Lawrence T. Park et al., “Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Mood Disorders,” Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychology, January 2019.

5. David Dadiomov and Kelly Lee, “The Effects of Ketamine on Suicidality Across Various Formulations and Study Settings,” The Mental Health Clinician, January 2019.

6. Jennifer L. Jones et al., ‘Efficacy of Ketamine in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review,” Frontiers in Psychiatry, July 2018.

7. I.H. Mills et al., “Treatment of Compulsive Behaviour in Eating Disorders With Intermittent Ketamine Infusions,” QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, August 1998.

8. S.M. Shadli et al., “Ketamine Effects on EEG During Therapy of Treatment-Resistant Generalized Anxiety and Social Anxiety,” The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, April 2018.

9. P. Glue et al., “Ketamine’s Dose-Related Effects on Anxiety Symptoms in Patients With Treatment-Refractory Anxiety Disorders,” Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2017.

10. P. Glue et al., “Safety and Efficacy of Maintenance Ketamine Treatment in Patients With Treatment-Refractory Generalised Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorders,” Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2018.

11. Carolyn Rodriguez et al., “Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial of Ketamine in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Proof-of-Concept,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2013.

12. L. Fattore et al., “Psychedelics and Reconsolidation of Traumatic and Appetitive Maladaptive Memories: Focus on Cannabinoids and Ketamine,” Psychopharmacology, 2018.

13. A. Feder et al., “Efficacy of Intravenous Ketamine for Treatment of Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” JAMA Psychiatry, 2014.

14. W. Ito et al., “Observation of Distressed Conspecific as a Model of Emotional Trauma Generates Silent Synapses in the Prefrontal-Amygdala Pathway and Enhances Fear Learning, but Ketamine Abolishes Those Effects,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015.

15. Lucinda Grande et al., “Oral Ketamine for Chronic Pain: A 32-Subject Placebo-Controlled Trial in Patients on Chronic Opioids,” The Journal of Pain, April 2016.

16. Rosemary C. Polomano et al., “Effects of Low-Dose IV Ketamine on Peripheral and Central Pain from Major Limb Injuries Sustained in Combat,” Pain Medicine, 2013.

17. Harsha Shanthanna et al., “Early and Effective Use of Ketamine for Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain,” Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, March–April 2010.

18. Sukanya Mitra and Sunita Kazal, “Oral Ketamine for Phantom Limb Pain: An Option for Challenging Cases,” Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, July 2015.

19. Lucinda Grande et al., “Ultra-Low Dose Ketamine and Memantine Treatment for Pain in an Opioid-Tolerant Oncology Patient,” Anesthesia & Analgesia, October 2008.

Get a free 15-minute consultation.

Schedule a short phone call to discuss cost, membership options, and any questions you might have about Forum Health.