Why we should worry about the rapid spread of ketamine clinics


As ketamine clinics pop up across the U.S. to offer experimental infusions for depression, anxiety, and a slew of other conditions, training programs to teach providers how to run these businesses have also started to appear. They promise to teach everyone from anesthesiologists to advanced practice nurses the ins and outs of ketamine, which has been used for decades as an anesthetic but is still under study as a therapy for psychiatric disorders.

The doctors and nurse anesthetists offering the courses say they’re urgently needed to try to bring some standardization to the booming ketamine treatment business. I’d like to see that be done appropriately,” said Dr. Gerald Grass, an anesthesiologist who runs the Ketamine Institute, a training program.

But some mental health experts say there isn’t yet enough evidence about how to use ketamine to offer training. They fear some of those signing up for the programs might be trying to break into the business to make a quick buck.


Related article:  Viewpoint: It's time for a debate on precision medicine and its failed promises

Some clinics don’t thoroughly screen patients, and experts worry they’re offering the drug to anyone who can afford it. Providers charge anywhere from $350 to close to $1,000 per infusion and many patients get at least six rounds of the treatment. Some clinics, too, offer ketamine for uses that haven’t been well-studied, overhype its efficacy, and tout special blends that experts say aren’t supported by published evidence.

Read full, original post: As ketamine clinics spread, so do start-your-own-business courses, sparking concern

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