By Ali Shana
Ketamine Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s first ketamine-dedicated clinic, serves an important role for those who do not benefit from traditional antidepressant medications. “Most of our patients have tried 5-10 different antidepressants over the course of years before they come to us,” said Dr. Kevin Kane, anesthesiologist and founder of Ketamine Milwaukee.
Ketamine is a dissociative drug that’s mainly been used as an anesthetic. However, the drug’s made recent headlines for its ability to treat depression. Unlike traditional antidepressants, including serotonin and dopamine medicines, ketamine works on a completely different part of the brain.
Candidates for ketamine treatment must have tried two different antidepressants without improvement. While traditional antidepressants can take four to six weeks to kick in, ketamine works much faster.
“It’s a rapid-acting antidepressant,” said Kane. “People can start feeling the benefits of ketamine as early as the next day.”
According to Kane, ketamine works for about 70% of patients.
“Depression and medication are not one-size-fits-all solutions,” he said. “But for the people who do benefit from it, and who haven’t benefited for years from traditional medication, it can be really life-changing.”
This is part of the reason why Ketamine Milwaukee partnered with American Behavioral Clinics a year and a half ago – to provide more options and more access to more patients. “They want to have as many treatments for mental health issues available under one roof as they can,” Kane said regarding the collaboration.
“We believe that mental health is really the center of everything,” said David Winston, COO of American Behavioral Clinics. He’s helped form partnerships with programs that incorporate ketamine therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), physical wellness, and many other innovations in mental health treatment.
“We’re always looking for the next best thing for our patients,” Winston said. “And now, with everything going on, it’s a chance to be even bolder.”
Indeed, American Behavioral is taking a bold approach with its expansion of services. It serves about ten thousand active patients and are building a depression center in Oak Creek. Both Kane and Winston said they serve a wide range of patients across all ages, backgrounds, and professions.
“Depression doesn’t discriminate,” said Kane.
The ketamine clinic encourages patients to combine treatment with therapy.
“I feel strongly that ketamine can help patients be more receptive to things they learn in therapy,” said Kane. “Likewise, I think ketamine can bring about a new realization that one could discuss with their therapist.”
As of now, IV ketamine treatments are not covered by insurance. Individual treatments are $450 out-of-pocket with a series of six treatments being the standard across the nation. However, as a joint venture with American Behavioral Clinics, Ketamine Milwaukee hopes to offer Spravato – a nasal spray form of esketamine that will be covered by insurance – to patients by the spring.
According to Mental Health America, 1 in 4 Americans suffer from a diagnosable and treatable mental health issue per year. While African Americans are 20% more likely to experience these issues, they are 50% less likely to seek help than their white counterparts.
For whatever reason one might avoid seeking mental health treatment, Winston believes it is important for those involved to share their story. “Every story, every person, every changed mindset and attitude, everyone willing to talk about their journey – it makes a difference.”
Ketamine Milwaukee is a huge step forward for those with treatment-resistant depression. To learn more about the clinic’s services, visit ketaminemilwaukee.com.