Ketamine treatment for depression is a new, intensive and effective cure. It is also indicated in other pathologies like posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and addiction.
Ketamine infusions have an instant antidepressant effect, but the substance is broken down in the body within a few hours. The antidepressant effect continues. It is also the only known substance that causes suicidal thoughts to fade immediately.
Ketamine has its origins as an anaesthetic. It has been licensed since the 1970s and is considered to be one of the safest medicines in existence. Only in the last few years, however, has it has been determined that, in low doses, it has a very strong antidepressant effect. To achieve this, ketamine treatment is given as an intravenous infusion over about 40 minutes.
This is referred to as a “hit and go” effect, or a door opener. The antidepressant effect is maintained for varying lengths of time: for some people a single ketamine treatment is sufficient and the effects are maintained for years. More commonly, the effect of the ketamine treatment lasts for days or weeks. A secondary effect of the ketamine therapy is that it improves the neuroplasticity of the brain. The brain becomes more capable of learning and memory skills are enhanced. This makes it the ideal time to begin additional therapy to improve sustainability.
An increasing number of clinics are now offering ketamine treatments for cases of therapy-resistant depression, but it is not usually offered together with other procedures.
We utilise the benefits of our ketamine treatment by combining it with procedures that ensure the sustainability of the treatment over a period of years:
Hypnosis and behavioural therapy help to change entrenched patterns of behaviour and thinking; repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation to stimulate or curb brain activity in the affected areas.
The benefits of Ketamine treatment for the patient:
- no long-term intake of medicine
- duration of treatment generally only two weeks
- totally discreet treatment in our private clinic on Majorca
Ketamine as a nasal spray is licensed in the USA for the treatment of depression. In Europe this is known as off-label treatment: a licensed drug is used for a different purpose. Off-label treatment is common in many areas of medicine, particularly in paediatrics and cancer therapy. It is completely legal: however, this situation must be explained to the patient, and health insurance companies are not obliged to pay for the treatment.
Unlike most clinics, the Ketamine treatment in our clinic involves a combination of Ketamine infusions with other therapies. Thus we obtain results in a short time that are more durable and long lasting than therapies that are based just on Ketamine infusions. This is shown by our evaluation of 26 Patients that have been treated in our clinic on Mallorca:
Sustainability of Ketamine treatment:
Instituto Dr. Scheib, Mallorca – A preliminary data analysis
Patients were treated at the clinic in Mallorca an average of 2 years and 4 months ago. 26 patients responded on the survey. Mood was self-assessed by patients before treatment, immediately after treatment and in March 2021. Very bad was rated with 1 and very good with 10.
Mood was rated as very poor (ketamine only=1.8; ketamine plus other therapy=1.6) in both groups before the start of treatment.
During treatment, mood improved significantly to 3.5 (ketamine only) and 5.7 (ketamine plus other therapies).
In the combination treatment group, this improved mood persisted more than two years after treatment. Surprisingly, the ketamine-only group improved thereafter to 4.6. However, it has not yet been investigated whether this group had used other therapies at home after treatment ended.
In summary, however, it can be stated that the combined treatment with ketamine plus transcranial magnetic stimulation and/or psychotherapy leads to a significantly better long-term outcome. Further, more differentiated studies will follow.
Johanna Kressner, B.Sc.
Dr. med. Mario Scheib
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