Publish date: December 8, 2017
By Randy Dotinga Clinical Psychiatry News
Ketamine, once best known as a pet anesthetic and party drug, is taking the United States by storm. Dozens of ketamine treatment centers are operating from coast to coast.Big cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Phoenix have them. So do Charleston, S.C., and Boise, Idaho. Two such clinics are in sparsely populated New Mexico. And one national chain went from a pair of clinics to 10 in fewer than 2 years.
“There’s been a mad rush on the part of desperate patients to seek care,” said ketamine researcher, chair of the psychiatry department at Columbia University, New York; director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute; and a past president of the American Psychiatric Association.
Never mind that these expensive treatments for conditions like depression are not covered by insurers or approved for this use by the Food and Drug Administration. Other questions also persist. “There is a considerable body of evidence that proves it really does work,” Dr. Lieberman said. “But we don’t know the extent of the range of conditions for which it might be effective, what the optimal frequency and concentration for dosing is, and what the long-term consequences are.” To make matters more complicated, it’s anesthesiologists – not psychiatrists – who are leading the way toward a ketamine-infused future.