A new wave of specialty clinics is stoking renewed interest from mainstream media and patients in the purported benefits, as well as the risks, of ketamine to treat select mental health issues. Medpage Today published an article online detailing how some providers—one of whom holds a medical license in 45 states—have established booming online “practices” devoted exclusively to facilitating access to ketamine. While ketamine has been used successfully in treating depression and anxiety, the Food and Drug Administration advises that patients should use the drug under direct supervision from a provider, and remain under their supervision for 2 hours after taking the medication because it alters the user’s perception and can cause blood pressure to spike. Obviously, such supervision is not available when a patient is prescribed ketamine virtually. A report aired by NBC News focused on new brick-and-mortar clinics dedicated to offering in-person care where the proper supervision is accessible, but described those facilities as having a “vibe [that] is less doctor’s office, more tranquil spa.” Urgent care operators who offer telehealth services should consider that such mass media depictions could give individuals who want access to ketamine for illicit purposes ideas on how to present themselves to gain a prescription.
Renewed Interest in Ketamine Could Drive Patients Your Way—Be Prepared