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Pasithea Clinics Is Flipping the Script on Treatment-Resistant Psychiatric Conditions

The biotechnology company currently offers in - home treatment options and is expanding its access for patients, with mental health clinics opening soon in L.A., N.Y. and Miami.

Considering that one in four adults in the U.S. experience mental illness each year and that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people age 10-34, everyone has a responsibility to advocate for mental health. May 21 is Mental Health Awareness Day, and the entertainment industry has done its part to raise awareness, producing more and more work that addresses mental health challenges. “The Fallout,” “A Star Is Born” and “13 Reasons Why” are a few examples.

Such media narratives are key to starting conversations and educating the public.

Unfortunately, about a third of patients with psychiatric conditions do not have an adequate response to first-line antidepressant treatment and develop treatment-resistant conditions. There is a definitive need for rapid-acting, effective treatments. Developing and creating access to groundbreaking treatments is key, and one such new treatment option is intravenous (IV) ketamine.

Pasithea Clinics is determined to flip the script on recovery options for people with depression, anxiety and PTSD whose illnesses don’t respond well to traditional antidepressants.

The company’s plan is to enable doctors to provide access to IV ketamine infusions in mental health clinics in the U.K. and U.S. In-home IV ketamine treatments are already up and running. Such treatments are prescribed by a psychiatrist and administered by an anesthesiologist and registered nurse.

Pasithea Clinics is a subsidiary of Pasithea Therapeutics, a U.S. biotechnology company focused on the research and discovery of new compounds for psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Ketamine has a 50-year medical history as a safe anesthetic. It also has been misused as the street/club drug “Special K.”

However, researchers recently discovered that low doses of ketamine stimulate neural pathways and promote positive behavioral patterns. That’s led to its current use as an effective treatment for depression. When administered in low doses through IV, it binds to certain brain receptors and releases glutamate, which helps create new synaptic connections between brain cells; the antidepressant effect occurs almost immediately and is long-lasting.

“We’ve been rediscovering drugs that we thought were lost to the dark side,” says  Pasithea Therapeutics CEO Tiago Reis Marques, M.D., PhD. “This is a revolution in psychiatry, a sort of renaissance because we are using these substances to good ends that were once considered toxic. We have laughing gas for treatment-resistant depression, MDMA for post-traumatic stress disorder, ketamine for treatment-resistant depression and PTSD, and we have psilocybin for end stage cancer anxiety.”

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of anxiety and depression are increasing exponentially, and worldwide mental health continues to be severely impacted.

Members of the entertainment industry are not immune. They have been critically affected by stressors such as food insecurity, housing changes, increased debt and changed utility usage, all of which affect mental health; and increased pressure on the health care system has severely impeded access to mental health services.

Conversations on access and successfully treating psychiatric diagnoses often return to the question of efficacious medicines.

“The past 20 years have been a desert regarding new drugs for the treatment of psychiatric disorders,” says Dr. Marques. “Moving forward, we need to build on the foundations of research to understand how the brain works. Then, when the new medicines start to come out, there will hopefully be another revolution. Until that moment, we need to use what we have to improve patients’ lives, because that’s most important for people who are currently suffering. If it is with psychedelics or ketamine, yes, as long as we do it safely and as long as we do it wisely.”

Pasithea clinics are expected to open in Los Angeles in early summer 2022, in Miami in December 2022 and in New York City in the spring of 2023.

Alternatively, the company’s at-home model is already in use in L.A., N.Y., Miami, San Francisco and San Diego. It allows for expansion into approximately 30 cities across the country. Through at-home services, patients can receive IV ketamine therapy in the privacy and comfort of their own homes. This concierge-type service is considered ideal for varied reasons, including for patients who don’t want to and/or can’t leave the house and for those with concern over stigma.

IV ketamine treatments have shown to deliver fast-acting, long-lasting relief for first-time patients with six IV infusions that occur over a three to four week span. Each infusion lasts approximately 60 minutes.

Pasithea Clinics is demonstrating creativity in its solutions for treatment-resistant psychiatric illnesses. Creativity must play a vital role in solutions to the global mental health crisis that affects us all — creativity in the application of medicines that are available for treatment, creativity in the research of new medicines and creativity in each of us standing up as mental health advocates.

To learn more about IV ketamine treatments and other breakthrough treatments for mental disorders, contact Pasithea Clinics.