Ketamine Therapy Breaks New Ground for Pain and Anxiety
When Jerron C. Hill, M.D., anesthesiologist, medical director and founder of Ketamine Health & Wellness Center of Texas (KHWCT), read articles in medical journals about how ketamine helps depression and mood disorders, he became intrigued and recognized that Dallas area residents could benefit from intravenous ketamine therapy. He opened KHWCT in March 2017 to help patients with mood disorders and chronic pain—not just to alleviate their symptoms, but to maintain wellness once they walk out the clinic door.
“Ketamine is an old drug that has found new purpose,” Hill says. It is an anesthetic drug that was discovered in 1962 by pharmacist Calvin Stevens and some psychiatrists were using ketamine as a psychoactive drug, because it’s similar in structure to phencyclidine (PCP).
In recent years in the U.S., Hill says ketamine has been getting a lot of attention, where more than 25 million people suffer from chronic depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety, and ketamine helps about 70 percent of those patients. “It can be life saving,” says Hill. “There are ketamine clinics proliferating all over the U.S. The American Society of Ketamine Practitioners held its first meeting in Austin this September. Psychiatrists and anesthesiologists discussed how they use ketamine to help patients in an outpatient setting to help mood disorders.”
Hill says ketamine administered intravenously can also help with chronic pain, because it helps block the transmission of pain along the spinal cord and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. “With this one medication, we can treat patients that have not only depression and mood disorders, but also chronic pain syndrome like migraine headaches, fibromyalgia and other types of common neuropathies,” he explains.
Many people are good candidates for ketamine therapy. Hill says his patients have suffered from depression for decades and been prescribed myriad antipsychotic medications and antidepressants. “Sometimes those medications work for an extended period, but they have side effects like weight gain or fatigue. With most of the modern medications, patients eventually build a tolerance and have to switch to another drug. The problem with that is it takes about four weeks for traditional antipsychotic medications to work, whereas ketamine works within hours.”
Hill also emphasizes that millions of dollars could be saved in health care costs by utilizing ketamine, and patients can learn to better cope with stress through ketamine treatments. “What I see in the underlying mechanism of depression is that it’s secondary to stress, and stress can be multifactorial,” he says.
Patients average about six treatments for mood disorders and five treatments for chronic pain. For new patients, Hill does an initial consultation and physical examination, spending an hour going over their medical history and explaining how ketamine works. He also offers a comprehensive aftercare program. “I want to help patients stay out of my clinic if they do respond to ketamine,” he says.
KHWCT combines wellness services for the whole person. “Patients that suffer from mood disorders are often vitamin D-deficient, and they may also be deficient in B vitamins,” Hill explains. “Patients that suffer from migraines and fibromyalgia have low magnesium levels, so for my patients, I do a drug toxicity screen and an initial wellness panel, as well as vitamin infusions for nutritional deficiencies.”
Hill also focuses on prevention, counseling patients on the value and importance of exercise and nutrition; organic foods that enhance brain health; exercise; and positive stress management. He also partners with the Research Genetic Cancer Center (RGCC), in Greece, to offer liquid biopsies, which test patients’ blood samples to detect cancer cells and treat them with ascorbic acid.
About helping his patients achieve wellness with ketamine and vitamin infusions, Hill avows, “I take such joy in seeing patients get better. It’s priceless.”
Ketamine Health & Wellness Center of Texas is located at 5944 W. Parker Rd., Ste. 400, in Plano. For more information, call 972-212-4341 or visit KetamineHealthTX.com.