How to Get Ketamine Prescribed
If you’re seeking ketamine treatment, you’ll want to know how to get ketamine prescribed. The good news is getting a prescription for ketamine is fairly easy, the bad is that filling that prescription can be difficult and expensive.
Can Ketamine Be Prescribed?
Ketamine can be prescribed by any medical doctor. However, as ketamine is only Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved as an anesthetic in a medical procedure, you can’t just walk into a pharmacy and buy it.
Typically, ketamine is given via an intravenous (IV) infusion over the course of about 45 minutes. As ketamine can, potentially, be dangerous, people being given an infusion are closely monitored during and after the procedure.
In a few cases, doctors may elect to provide ketamine via an intranasal or intermuscular route, but this, too, would be done in a medical setting.
What Is Ketamine Prescribed For?
Ketamine is generally prescribed for pain disorders as well as depression present in major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some doctors specialize in pain or depression and some will treat both.
How to Get Ketamine Prescribed
As any licensed medical doctor can prescribe ketamine treatments, you can go to your family doctor and get a prescription. However, as family doctors do not typically perform the procedure, they will refer you to a specialty doctor or clinic. Referrals are filled out by your doctor and then generally faxed to the specialty doctor’s office or clinic. Referrals typically indicate what you’re being treated for and what treatments you have previously tried.
Once you have a referral, the specialist doctor or clinic will do their own assessment of you to ascertain whether ketamine really is the right treatment for you. Assessments are designed to ascertain information such as:
- Your psychiatric history such as your current and past diagnoses, hospitalizations, suicidal behavior, etc.
- Your social history such as your social supports and living situation
- Your family psychiatric history
- Your current and past medications/treatments
- Your use of substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, etc.
- Your medical history including experience with anesthesia
Some conditions may preclude a person from receiving ketamine treatment and some medications need to be altered or discontinued for ketamine treatments to occur.
People who should avoid ketamine treatments, according to Boston MindCare, a ketamine clinic, include:
- Those with psychotic disorders like schizophrenia
- Those who experience seizures
- Those taking aminophylline for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
People with uncontrolled high blood pressure, cardiac disease, or pulmonary problems may need additional treatment before getting ketamine infusions.
Once you have gone through this psychiatric and medical assessment and have clearance, you can proceed to get ketamine infusions. People can expect about six infusions over the first two-three weeks.
Last Updated: 20 September 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD