Clinics offering ketamine infusions tout it as “the path to happiness,” the “future of healing and hope,” and a way to “feel good again” and a way to “get back your life” and “feel again.” As use of the medication grows, so has the hype around it.
One particularly eyebrow-raising example: A recent press release from Kalypso Wellness Centers boasts a 90% success rate for its infusions, personalized treatment plans based on a patient’s DNA, and success in treating multiple sclerosis, lupus, Lyme disease, and ALS with ketamine.
Outside experts aren’t convinced by the press release alone. Dr. Erick Turner, an Oregon Health and Science University psychiatrist who reviewed the release, responded by taking a page from “Jerry Maguire”: “Show me the data!”
In an email to STAT, Kalypso CEO and anesthesiologist Dr. Cannon Clifton said the company, which has eight clinics around the country, “fully supports evidence-based medicine” and “agrees 100% that caution needs to be maintained with people offering ketamine infusions.”
“We have treated several disease states such as ALS, Lupus, Lyme’s disease … but we have NEVER claimed that we are going to cure their disease. We state that we are going to help with the depression and anxiety that accompanies a chronic illness, and when they have a pain complaint with their illness, we are also able to help with that component,” Clifton said.
STAT asked two experts — Turner and Dr. Robert Meisner, a psychiatrist and the medical director of the ketamine service at McLean Hospital — to annotate Kalypso’s claims using the published evidence on ketamine. Here’s what they had to say. (To view the document in fullscreen, click the button at the bottom left corner of the box below.)