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Ketamine Services

At the Center for Interventional Psychiatry, we are committed to offering our patients the latest advancements in mental health treatments while assuring them of the highest level of quality and safety.

We are pleased to now offer two types of ketamine treatment — esketamine intranasal therapy (EsKIT) and ketamine infusion therapy (KIT). Each represents an exciting option for treatment-resistant depression.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an anesthetic medicine that has been in use for many decades and is on the World Health Organization's list of essential medicines. It also has been shown to be effective in treating depression, especially in patients who have not responded to traditional treatment options. In 2019, our center was approved to administer ketamine treatment services to treat patients with major depression.

When do you use ketamine treatment?

Our ketamine treatment services can provide fast relief from major depressive symptoms, including suicidal thoughts. They are available to adults age 18 and older who have not had success with traditional treatments for depression.

Studies show that the drug ketamine modulates the neurochemical glutamate. This prompts the brain to form new neural connections in a complex and cascading series of events. The brain becomes more adaptable and able to create new pathways — and helps you develop more positive thoughts and behaviors.

How is ketamine treatment administered?

We currently offer two types of treatment:

  • Esketamine intranasal therapy (EsKIT) — administered by nasal spray
  • Ketamine infusion therapy (KIT) — administered via intravenous (IV) infusion

Both treatments are administered in a clinical setting. You will be carefully monitored during and after treatment to watch for any possible side effects. During your treatment, your blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen will be monitored.

What is the difference in treatments?

Esketamine intranasal therapy (EsKIT)

Esketamine is a nasal spray derived from ketamine. It recently was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in health care settings to treat severe depression.

EsKIT is:

  • Delivered as an outpatient service
  • Administered twice a week for four weeks (eight sessions), followed by once-a-week treatments
  • Treatments will be tapered off as tolerated
  • Intranasal spray treatment takes five to 10 minutes, followed by two hours of active monitoring

Ketamine infusion therapy (KIT)

KIT delivers a precisely controlled low dose of ketamine via intravenous (IV) infusion. It is generally considered a more effective method than the nasal spray. This type of therapy has been in use to treat depression for more than 20 years.

KIT is:

  • Delivered as an outpatient service
  • Administered twice a week for three weeks (six sessions)
  • Tapered off as tolerated by patient
  • Infusion takes approximately 40 minutes, followed by 90 minutes of active monitoring

Contact the Center for Interventional Psychiatry at UPMC Western Psychiatric Hospital

For more information or to schedule an appointment with the Center for Interventional Psychiatry, please call 412-246-5063.