Ketamine Maintenance: How often and how long

Ketamine Maintenance:

So you’ve completed your initial ketamine treatment – what now? You’re feeling much better now, but will it last? Should you schedule more infusions? And if so, when? How many? These are all very common questions that patients have throughout their treatment course.

Once you complete your initial “loading dose” of ketamine treatments – meaning 6-10 infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks, the goal is that you will be relieved from most to all of your depressive symptoms. At that point, what happens next is up to you and your doctor. Some patients will have monthly “boosters” – they will come in every 3-4 weeks to receive 2 booster sessions. Other patients will simply get in touch with us when they feel their depressive symptoms creeping back up, and we will schedule anywhere from 2-6 booster infusions. The time period of being relieved from depressive symptoms can last anywhere from 4 weeks to 3-4 months or longer, but again, response varies widely by the patient so there is no one correct course of treatment. Ketamine therapy at Principium Psychiatry is highly individualized, so our team works hard to find a plan that works best for you.

The goal of ketamine maintenance therapy is to maintain the symptom improvement or depression remission that you obtained from the initial loading dose. In our experience, patients have been able to successfully maintain their remission with booster infusions at varying time intervals based on their needs and preferences. Several case studies have found that a maintenance ketamine treatment is more successful at preventing a relapse of depression than repeated series of “loading dose” infusions. It is important that even when you are taking a break from ketamine infusions (i.e. between the initial infusions and maintenance infusions) that you continue to see your usual mental health provider for therapy and medication management.

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