Frequently Asked Questions About Ketamine Treatments

Why Won’t My Insurance Cover Ketamine Treatments? 

Over the last 15+ years, ketamine has been used successfully in treating severe mental health and chronic pain disorders.  However, because it is not approved by the FDA for this secondary use, almost all insurance companies will not pay for ketamine infusion therapy.

 

  • HSA and FSA Accounts: While you can use your HSA or FSA funds to cover the cost of ketamine treatments, insurances do not yet cover ketamine treatments because they do not have FDA approval yet. 

  • Superbills and Preauthorization: Some insurance companies will pay for a portion of some of the services we provide. You should check with your insurance company representative to find out specific requirements and limitations of this coverage. We will be happy to provide you with a superbill to send to your insurance, as well as assist you in the preparation of insurance forms if you feel there is a chance your insurance company will pay for these services. The hourly rate of $100 will apply. 

  • Working Outside of Insurance Provides Some Benefits to You: Any insurance claim requires a medical diagnosis, proof of other therapies tried, as well as countless other requirements to authorize treatment, and you might not be approved for the treatment even if you are the perfect candidate. Even worse, the insurance company puts limitations on your treatment and care. For example, it determines how many sessions are appropriate for your treatment, regardless of where you are in the healing process. By working out of insurance, we are able to choose how frequently we want to meet, and we do not have to terminate treatment on the whim of a third party, such as your insurance company.

 
Do I need to stop taking my medication to receive a ketamine treatment? 

Ketamine is an incredible treatment option for many reasons, one of which is the fact that if you are on most antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications, you can continue taking your medication as prescribed.  During your initial consultation, your provider will work with you to make sure that ketamine therapy is an appropriate treatment based on the medications you are taking and your medical history.  

 

There are a few medications that must be worked around if you receive ketamine therapy. Avoid taking a benzodiazepine (ex. Ativan, Xanax) and opioid pain medications (ex. Hydrocodone/oxycodone) for at least 2 hours (4 hours if you can) after your infusion. 

 

Lamictal, generic name, lamotrigine is one of those medications. You should allow 12 hours between your last Lamictal dose and the start of your ketamine therapy. You should wait at least 6 hours after your infusion before resuming the use of Lamictal. 


MAOI’s, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, is another medication that requires certain care around ketamine infusions. Some common generic/brand names are Isocarboxazid (Marplan), Phenelzine (Nardil), Selegiline (Emsam), and Tranylcypromine (Parnate). You cannot take any MAOIs within 2 weeks of an infusion.

 

See our article for more information on how ketamine compares with antidepressants in the brain. 

Why do you require that I see a mental health provider? 

It is required that you see a mental health counselor before, during, and after your Ketamine infusions for mental health conditions.

 

It is highly recommended that you see a mental health counselor before, during, and after your Ketamine infusions for pain conditions.

 

Ketamine infusions may help with your depression and pain but are not intended to be a substitute for regular care by your mental health and or primary care provider. Ketamine is a tool to improve your overall health, not a cure. Therefore, we require that you maintain all regularly scheduled visits with your primary care physician, psychiatrist, and /or mental health therapist.  

 

State of mind and mental health have an incredible impact on your physical health, and we approach your wellness by looking at the whole picture: mental and physical. 

 

Our holistic approach doesn’t stop there. We recommend that you set intentions for your inner work and make sure you are relaxed before your IV Ketamine session and do things that promote a calm mind before your treatments like meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, and journaling.

 
What should I do to prepare for my ketamine treatment sessions? What should I do after my ketamine treatment sessions?

Your provider will discuss intake and discharge instructions with you before your treatments as well as provide you with paper copies of these instructions in detail. One of the many benefits of working with Wyoming Wellness Center: we have ketamine treatments down to an art, and we have the licensure and knowledge to back up what we do. We will make sure you feel prepared every step of the way!

 
What safety precautions do I need to take before my treatment? 

Ketamine has been used in clinical settings for decades and is an incredibly safe medicine. We do ask that you follow these guidelines before any treatment at our clinic: 

  • You must refrain from alcohol, marijuana (CBD if fine), and all other illegal substances 24 hours prior to and following ketamine administration. You must not be using illicit drugs while receiving ketamine therapy.

  • You must tell your Ketamine Provider about all medications you are taking, especially narcotic pain relievers, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, MAOIs, the drug Lamictal, and muscle relaxers. 

  • If you experience a minor side effect while you are at home, you should contact Wyoming Wellness Center at (307-532-3035) or text at 307-338-0446 - Monday-Friday 8a-5p, otherwise, contact your primary medical provider or if it is an emergency call 911 or go to the Emergency Room.

 

What are the possible side effects of a ketamine treatment? 

Possible experiences during your treatment include changes in mental sensation (for example, a floating sensation, vivid dreams, or a sense of peacefulness) and bodily sensations (for example, increased saliva or thirst, increased heart rate, or decreased blood pressure), these are common and expected. During your intake and discharge, common and rare side effects will be discussed in detail with you and a paper copy of this information in detail will be provided to you. Your treatment will be monitored by a trained and licensed health care provider.

I want to learn more about ketamine for chronic pain. What resources are available to me? 

In addition to our articles regarding the use of ketamine for chronic pain and depression, we recommend exploring the links below for further information. 

 

  1. The Institute for Chronic Pain

  2. Pain Advocacy Coalition

  3. The American Chronic Pain Association

  4. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA) 

  5. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet