Common Questions About Ketamine Therapy

faqIn a prior article I announced that we are now offering an exciting new treatment for severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, and OCD called Ketamine Therapy. This new therapy is dramatically improving the lives of people suffering from treatment-resistant illnesses. In many cases, the relief is fast and often long-lasting.

If you haven’t read that article, I recommend you do so first.

Assuming you have, I wanted to also do more-detailed “Q&A” style post, which is below…

What is ketamine therapy?
Ketamine therapy has been shown to be very effective in relieving the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. Several scientific studies, including those conducted at Yale University and the National Institute of Mental Health, have shown that even a single low dose of intravenously administered ketamine can dramatically improve symptoms associated with depression. Typically initial treatment involves six infusions over their course of two weeks.

What can ketamine therapy treat?
Ketamine therapy can result in positive treatment outcomes for people with severe or chronic depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post-partum depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders. Patients who do not tolerate oral medication or who have not benefitted from oral medication may benefit from ketamine treatment.

Who is a candidate for ketamine therapy?
Patients between the ages of 15 and 80 years who suffer from treatment-resistant mood and anxiety disorders are potential candidates. Patients with cases that are unresponsive or only partially responsive to oral medications or patients who can’t take oral medication may specifically wish to inquire.

Can it be used to treat all patients with depression?
No. Mild to moderate depression can be successfully treated with a combination of psychotherapy and drugs. Ketamine therapy is specifically severe treatment-resistant cases. In other words, it is for patients who have not responded to antidepressant medications.

Does ketamine therapy work? Will it work for you?
Data indicates that about 67% of patients may experience rapid and dramatic relief after therapy and about 75% of patients stop having suicidal ideation in some studies of severe and otherwise treatment resistant depression. While these numbers are remarkable, not every patient will have these remarkable results.

How are treatments administered?
We administer the ketamine infusion therapy, which consists of six approximately 45 minute IV infusions, in a comfortable private treatment room in our office. Patients relax comfortably while receiving treatment, and have access to music, wifi, and other comforts while they complete their infusions.

Should patients stop other treatments?
No. Continue taking any medications you are currently taking, even if they are only partially helpful. You do not need to stop oral medication to receive ketamine therapy. Contact our offices to schedule ketamine therapy, as it may prove helpful in your case. We will review your current medications when you schedule your treatment. Ketamine therapy can be used along with other psychotropic medication.

Is the treatment safe?
Ketamine has been proven safe in humans for decades. Keep in mind that ketamine was originally used, and continues to be used as an anesthetic, where dosages are much higher than those for treatment resistant depression. Discuss the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of any medical treatment , including ketamine therapy, with your doctor.

Is it covered by insurance?
Most insurance companies do not yet cover ketamine therapy for psychiatric illness. Physician and patient advocacy groups are working to encourage coverage for this treatment.

Where can you get more information?
1) Contact our office at or 646-931-0480 and I’ll answer all of your questions.

2) Check out this additional FAQ on my ketamine therapy website.

3) Check out this additional FAQ on my site about treatment day questions.

My name is Amanda Itzkoff, MD. I am a New York City based Psychiatrist and Assistant Professor at Mount Sinai Medical Center.

For additional information, please feel free to email our office at

To schedule an appointment, call our offices at 917-609-4990.

Be Well!
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff.

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