Helpful Advice to Improve Outcomes with Ketamine Infusions

Head shot of William Beesley

Published July 29th,2019

by William Beesley

There are many steps patients can take to improve their health outcomes with Ketamine Infusions.

Summary: As we treat our patients we have noticed certain steps can be taken to increase the likelihood of a positive outcomes with less long term depression, pain and anxiety as well as mitigating common negative side effects associated with ketamine infusions. This article is based on the available scientific research and our antidote evidence of polling our patients before, and after their treatments. As we continue to treat our patients we will update this article with anything we see as helpful to individuals considering ketamine infusions.

Before the Ketamine Infusion

  • Work to remove stress from life.
  • Set intentions to accomplish as part of the ketamine infusion. It can be as simple as "love and awareness” “safety and trust” “help my brain find joy”.
  • Patients’ should talk with their provider about not taking benzodiazepines or any prescribed opiods on the day of their infusion.
  • Patients working with therapists should consider doing a combined therapy session with ketamine. Restorative Health has had good results with PTSD, depression and anxiety patients resolving ongoing issues by combining ketamine infusions with therapy. For patients that don't have a therapist, Restorative Health can facilitate a referral.
Rita Rutland consulting with a female patient at patient's home about ketamine infusion treatments bedside

Rita Rutland consulting with a patient in the patient's home about ketamine infusion treatment

Immediately Before the Infusion

  • Oftentimes a Zofran/Ondansetron prescription is recommended to help alleviate nausea. Approximately 15% of patients we have treated have experienced nausea. Scopalomine patches can help as well. Its recommended to apply the patch an hour or two before treatment so it is in full affect at the time of infusion.
  • Do what helps settle the mind to enter a state of relaxation
  • Dress comfortably
  • Please avoid any kind of solid foods and/or milk for 4 hours prior to your ketamine infusion. You may drink clear liquids (i.e. water, fruit juice without pulp, carbonated beverages, clear tea, and black coffee) up until your infusion. Please stay hydrated. Absolutely avoid alcohol or the use of any illicit drugs. These substances are extremely dangerous in combination with ketamine.
  • Have some time to relax between the ketamine infusion and work/previous activities. We've found patients do best when they have approx 30 minutes of quiet time.
  • Bring a water bottle and a small blanket. People tend to get cold.

During the Ketamine Infusion

  • Understand that feelings of light headiness might occur during the treatment. This is normal and the feeling will pass.
  • Have a driver. It is unsafe to drive for several hours after a ketamine treatment. For patients being treated at home we encourage patients to have someone available with them for several hours to help out.
Rita Rutland treating a female patient bedside during a house call Ketamine infusion treatment.

Rita Rutland checking on vitals during a ketamine infusion treatment.

After the Ketamine Infusion

  • Ketamine infusions are an outpatient procedure, most patients are able to leave immediately afterwards.
  • Plan a healthy meal for afterwards that will be easy to digest.
  • Reflect on priorities and determine which are appropriate.
  • Follow up with medical provider.
  • The existing research indications that a total of six infusions is recommended within a 3 week period in order to maximize the effects of Ketamine. Following appropriate protocol will increase the likelihood of long term growth and repair to nerve cells and improve symptoms. The total length of treatment depends on each individual’s unique case and as determined by the patient and their medical provider.
  • The effects of a single infusion typically last from two weeks to several months. After a series of six infusions, some people could remain symptom free for many months. Work with your medical provider to determine if repeated treatments will be necessary.