The largest ketamine therapy provider in the U.S. has expanded its relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Community Care Network to provide more ketamine treatments for veterans suffering from a variety of depressive disorders.
Ketamine Wellness Centers, a subsidiary of Delic Holdings Corp, is offering veterans access to the first Federal Drug Administration-approved ketamine nasal spray at its clinics across the western U.S.
While illicit use of ketamine is commonly associated with a date-rape drug taken for its dissociative effects, it’s also been lauded as a treatment method for those with mental health disorders who have shown resistance to more common treatment options.
Between 14%-16% of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from PTSD or depression, according to a January 2022 study. For many of them, waiting months or years for more traditional treatments, such as therapy or common drugs like Prozac or Wellbutrin, is not an option.
Taken in conjunction with an oral depressant, the SPRAVATO esketamine spray is meant to alleviate symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder and Treatment-Resistant Depression, two common depressive disorders found within the veteran community.
“KWC works every day to provide the best, most effective treatments to those who need them most,” Ketamine Wellness Centers CEO Kevin Nicholson said in a release. “And our veterans who suffer from various mental health challenges, such as PTSD, major depression and anxiety, deserve the highest quality care.
“Working with the Veterans Administration Community Care Network has allowed us to better serve these men and women and offer treatments such as SPRAVATO with positive, long-term benefits that get to the root cause.”
Clinics offering the aforementioned treatment options can be found in Arizona, Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Texas.
While this latest expansion may be a sign of growing faith in ketamine treatments, the VA is still limiting the widespread use of the drug within the administration. After the department’s initial decision to approve the drug’s use in March 2019, restrictions were swiftly imposed to limit SPRAVATO’s use to a case-by-case basis.
The VA Community Care Network has previously partnered with Ketamine Wellness Centers at locations in Naperville, Illinois, and Burnsville, Minnesota, to offer veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain and major depression other ketamine-based treatments.
Prior authorization from the VA is needed to receive the treatment, as side effects of the drug can include blood pressure spikes, dissociative feelings and suicidal ideations.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.