The Ketamine Cure – The New York Times

The success of ketamine in early trials has surprised and excited researchers studying mood disorders, a field where drugs like Prozac and Zoloft, combined with speech therapy, have been the top medical choices for decades. But, as with Mr. Gathman, interventions do not work for up to 30 percent of those suffering from major depression.

Moreover, it can take up to two months to determine if these interventions have any effect – a dangerously long time for those suffering from suicidal thoughts and other mood disorders, said Dr. Joshua Berman, the medical director of intervention psychiatry at Columbia University. , which helps guide the development of the section’s ketamine program. The effects of ketamine, on the other hand, are often immediate.

Although relatively new in the field of mental health, ketamine has been used in hospitals and on battlefields as an anesthetic since 1970. While the Food and Drug Administration’s drug clearance still does not extend most ketamine treatments to mood disorders, any doctor can prescribe. it’s off-label to patients they believe could benefit – allowing the commercial ketamine business to thrive.

Chris Walden, the co-founder of Ketamine Media, a public relations firm that works with ketamine suppliers, said ketamine clinics have grown from a few dozen to “many hundreds,” in the United States but have been unable to give accurate numbers.

Some of these providers are related to academic institutions conducting clinical trials. Others operate from private shop-like clinics such as Nushama, which was recently opened on Park Avenue in New York City by designer Jay Godfrey.

And some patients completely skip the clinic. Mindbloom, which launched in late 2018, is a home delivery service that sends ketamine lozenges directly to patients ’homes. The company – among the fastest growing of several home ketamine delivery services, such as My Ketamine Home and TrippSitter – pairs its clients with psychiatric clinicians certified to prescribe medications that determine if the drug is right for them. Then other employees, called “psychedelic guides,” meet with patients almost before and after sessions to work out the experience. There are no formal requirements to become a psychedelic guide, but most have completed training in fields such as mental health, life coaching or crisis management.

Dylan Beynon, the CEO and founder of Mindbloom, said more than 80 percent of his clients suffering from depression or anxiety experience significant improvement after four sessions – and that only 5 percent of patients experience side effects that were mostly mild.

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