For some patients with depression, standard biological treatment with antidepressants, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) prove ineffective or insufficient. At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, the Department of Psychiatry offers an alternative treatment option—intravenous ketamine therapy—to people who have not experienced adequate relief with standard treatments to date. Intravenous ketamine infusion therapy – though not FDA approved – is an evidenced-based option that can alleviate feelings of depression.
At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, eligible patients undergo a consultation and medical clearance prior to receiving 40-minute ketamine treatments that are delivered by nurses in a highly monitored setting to provide a positive patient experience and enhanced safety.
Details of the ketamine infusion program and eligibility requirements are as follows:
Target population – healthy adults (>18 years old) with treatment-refractory depression (failure of two adequate trials of antidepressants or ECT/TMS).
Eligibility interview – 1-hour long.
Medical health – medical clearance is a necessity for all patients considering ketamine infusion.
Treatments – consists of up to eight sessions, scheduled as three infusions per week. Further treatments are based on patient response and provider recommendations.
Cost – $550 per infusion. Infusions are not covered by insurance and patients are responsible for paying for the full cost of the infusions.
Discharge supervision – patients will need a responsible adult to transport and supervise the patient upon discharge.
Location – infusions will be performed at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in the morning.
Time allocation – while the total infusion time is 40 minutes, patients and their accompanying responsible adults should plan 1.5 to 2 hours for the total time, including checking in, pre-infusion screening and post-infusion recovery.
Referral process – referrals must be made through the patient’s providing prescriber.
Patients, if you think you would benefit from intravenous ketamine therapy, please speak to your providing prescriber.