Read our latest blog on: Which is Better? Ketamine or Spravato?


What is Ketamine?

Ketamine was originally developed as an anesthesia drug in the 1960s and approved by the FDA in the 1970s for that purpose. In more recent decades, it has been approved for off-label use for a range of mental health conditions. 

Ketamine as a treatment for depression can be used in 2 ways: 

Infusions to treat a range of conditions, most specifically chronic depression and anxiety. 

Spravato nasal spray is a brand-name prescription that contains esketamine, which is one-half of the molecular compound within ketamine. It is approved by the FDA for use with treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder.

Ketamine Infusions

Ketamine infusions are a fast acting, effective treatment for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder, along with other conditions, and are FDA-approved.

Infusions have to be administered in a licensed clinic or hospital. Axis Integrated Mental Health’s team is trained to safely administer treatments intravenously.


How Does Ketamine Work? 

Whether administered via infusion or nasal spray, the treatment works by improving the circuitry and increasing communication in the brain. Depressed brains show fewer interconnections and communication between synapses and neurons. By applying the principles of neuroplasticity to mental health, more effective treatment approaches have been developed.

To imagine how this might look in daily life, imagine a time you smelled smoke. In a normal brain, the synapses governing emotion may provoke a fight-or-flight a response wondering if the house is on fire, but the logical side would return a signal showing that the smoke is actually a neighbor's BBQ and your initial panic would subside. In a depressed brain, the emotional side of the brain does not communicate well with the logical side so a person is stuck in fight-or-flight, which raises cortisol (the stress hormone), and that can damage even more communication networks over time.

After exposure to ketamine, brain synapses have been shown in the lab to regrow, and the interconnections between synapses and neurons begin to proliferate. This affects how different regions in the brain that control logic and emotion communicate with each other and results in a rapid, anti-depressant effect. 

Watch one of our patient testimonials here to learn more.


How Much Do Ketamine Infusions Cost?

Treatment costs between $450-$750 per infusion with a series of 6-8 infusions to start. They are not covered by insurance. Read more about how much ketamine infusions cost in our patient resources.

Learn More About Ketamine Infusions

Spravato for Depression

Spravato nasal spray is a brand-name prescription medication that is prescribed for adults with the following conditions: 

  • Treatment-resistant depression (TRD): TRD is depression that hasn’t improved even after a patient has tried two or more antidepressant medications. TRD is diagnosed only when treatment includes different classes of medication used for a reasonable amount of time without showing any improvements in moods or experiencing unsatisfactory results (such as intolerable side effects).
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD): MDD is defined by persistent sadness or irritability. It is also commonly referred to as clinical depression. MDD is the most common mental health condition in the United States. 

Spravato is used together with another antidepressant medication that is taken orally to treat TRD and MDD. 

What to Expect from Spravato Treatment at Axis Integrated Health

At Axis Integrated Health, we have an established process for delivering Spravato treatment.

  • Scheduled 60-minute intake appointments with one of our psychiatrists to learn more about your needs and situations.
  • If we determine Spravato treatment for depression is appropriate for you, we will discuss its benefits and also get insurance authorization on your behalf.
  • Once approved for treatment, we will schedule your appointment. The first treatment will begin as soon as possible after approval. 
  • You will be scheduled for two treatment sessions each week for the first four weeks.
  • For the second four weeks, you will come in for one treatment session per week. 
  • After the first eight weeks, you will come in for one treatment with as much time in-between sessions as is tolerable for your situation and based on your response to the treatment. 

Spravato is an esketamine nasal spray that takes about 10 minutes to take effect. You may experience some dissociative effects. The experience can be a strong catalyst for change.

Each visit occurs in a private room. You will have access to noise-canceling headphones, curated music, and comfortable chairs to relax while receiving Spravato. 

You will stay in the clinic under observation until potential side effects have passed. You will always receive a debrief before and after each treatment session with one of our team members. During the debrief session, our team members will chat with you about the experience and help you make the most of each Spravato nasal spray treatment.


How Much Does Spravato Therapy Cost?

Spravato costs between $700-$1200 per dose without insurance. However, most people will be covered for the treatment if they have treatment-resistant depression. Read more about how much Spravato costs in our patient resources.

Learn More About Spravato for Depression

Tips for a Better Infusion or Spravato Session

Many patients want to know more about how to prepare properly for a psychedelic treatment. Check out our patient resources on preparing for ketamine infusion therapy (applies to Spravato as well), our tips for building the best ketamine music playlist, of if you're interested in supporting a love one with mental illness.

You should also consider our ketamine assisted psychotherapy services to combine the treatment program with talk therapy, to help you reach your mental health goals faster.

Finally, read our blog about what to do after ketamine for best practices to maximize healing from depression.


Side Effects of Ketamine or Spravato

The most common side effects of receiving ketamine or Spravato are dizziness and a temporary increase in blood pressure. Ketamine and Spravato can also cause an out-of-body experience or sedation. 

That is why the drug is administered in a clinical setting under observation. You don’t leave until these side effects have subsided. Side effects are usually the most intense during your first two treatments and become less intense during later treatments. 

Other side effects can include 

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • A feeling similar to feeling drunk
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling very happy or excited
  • Ketamine Bladder (a temporary increase in the need to urinate during treatment)

Ketamine Abuse

As we can see from Matthew Perry's death, ketamine can be abused when it is used in at-home settings. We've given 7 Reasons to Avoid at-Home Ketamine in a recent blog. In-clinic ketamine administration for therapeutic purposes offers a structured and controlled environment that significantly reduces the risk of abuse.

Under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals, patients receive precise doses tailored to their individual needs, minimizing the potential for misuse or diversion. Moreover, the setting of a medical facility ensures accountability and monitoring throughout the treatment process, mitigating the likelihood of developing addictive patterns. The stringent protocols and oversight involved in in-clinic ketamine therapy serve as safeguards against abuse, promoting safe and responsible use while maximizing the therapeutic benefits for those struggling with conditions such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.

Get Ketamine or Spravato Treatment Today in Denver or Boulder County

If you suffer from treatment-resistant depression or major depressive disorder, or other mental health conditions, infusions or Spravato may be the right treatment option for you.

Contact Axis Integrative Mental Health at (720) 400-7025 or book an appointment with one of our psychiatrists to learn more about our holistic approach to taking care of your mental health.

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