Ketamine & S-Ketamine

Palo Alto Mind Body

Concierge Psychiatry & Ketamine Therapy Clinic located in Palo Alto, CA

For some, treating depression requires more than just talk therapy or medications. Many residents of Palo Alto, California, San Jose, and the greater San Francisco Bay Area who experience treatment-resistant depression rely on the experts at Palo Alto Mind Body for advanced treatment options, including ketamine and S-ketamine. If you’d like more information about this medication and how it might help you find lasting relief from depression, reach out online or by phone to book an initial visit.

What was the initial use of ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that was originally developed for use as an anesthetic. In the 1960s, the drug was used to sedate animals during surgery and other procedures. Ketamine received FDA approval for use in humans in 1970 and was instrumental in treating battlefield injuries during the Vietnam War. 

Over time, physicians who administered ketamine to patients began to notice that the drug appeared to help lift severe depression and even gave patients a reprieve from suicidal thoughts. After extensive research, ketamine and its derivative S-ketamine (phoneticized as "esketamine" and marketed under the brand name Spravato™) are now recognized as an evidence-based treatment in patients for whom other depression therapies have proven ineffective or insufficient. To simplify things, the majority of this page will refer to both ketamine and S-ketamine as just "ketamine."

How does ketamine work in people with depression?

While most depression medications work on brain chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine; ketamine works on the brain systems that involve glutamate, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in learning, memory, and brain function. Ketamine's actions at glutamate receptors can help nerve cells activate and communicate in new ways.

Ketamine is a dissociative drug that can create immediate results. Unlike most medications for depression, which require weeks to build up and deliver results, ketamine can create noticeable improvements in depressive symptoms within just a few hours of treatment; though, most patients get full benefits after multiple successive treatments.

Research shows that ketamine can be a life-changing therapy for people who suffer from depression and have not found lasting relief through psychotherapy and conventional drug therapy.

What can I expect during ketamine therapy?

Ketamine often creates a temporary distortion in perception for a few hours after treatment, so it is only administered in a clinical setting by practitioners trained in how to deliver the medication, monitor for side effects, and guide you through the process. You’ll relax in the clinic while the medication takes effect and you are cared for by our trained staff. 

Once any potential side effects have faded away, you can resume the rest of your day. Our experienced providers will work with you to determine if this treatment approach is delivering the desired improvements and will advise you on the treatment timing moving forward.

How do I choose between Ketamine and S-Ketamine?

Both ketamine and S-ketamine are effective in treating major depressive disorder, so the difference comes down to accessibility and affordability. Because ketamine's FDA approval only lists anesthesia as its intended use, nearly all payors consider ketamine used to treat depression as "experimental," even though there is significant research to prove it works, and they deny coverage.

However, because the FDA approved S-ketamine under the brand name Spravato specifically to treat depression, almost all insurance plans will cover S-ketamine treatment, and available savings programs allow some patients to pay as little as $10 per treatment. These factors make S-ketamine available to a broader range of patients.

If you’re searching for a new path toward relief from depression symptoms, schedule a consultation at Palo Alto Mind Body to explore ketamine/esketamine in greater detail. You can request an appointment online or over the phone.

To learn more, call or text us today: 650-681-2900.

Book Online