For some patients with depression, standard treatment with antidepressant medications, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and psychotherapy prove ineffective or insufficient. At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, the Department of Psychiatry offers an alternative treatment option—intravenous ketamine therapy—for individuals who have treatment resistant depression. Intravenous ketamine infusion therapy – though not FDA approved – is an evidenced-based option that can significantly improve symptoms of depression.
At Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, to determine eligibility for ketamine treatment, patients undergo a consultation and medical clearance. If suitable, you will receive 40-minute ketamine treatments that are delivered by nurses in a closely monitored setting that provides enhanced safety and a positive patient experience.
Details of the ketamine infusion program and eligibility requirements include:
Target population – healthy adults (at least 18 years old) with treatment-resistant depression (failure of two adequate trials of antidepressant medications or ECT/TMS).
Eligibility interview – 1-hour long.
Medical health – medical clearance will be provided by the ketamine-providing psychiatrist unless there are special concerns, in which case medical clearance will be provided by your primary care physician.
Treatment – consists of up to eight treatment sessions, scheduled as three infusions per week. Further treatments are based on individual patient response and provider recommendations.
Cost – $550 per infusion.
Discharge supervision – patients will need a responsible adult (friend or family member) 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 psychiatric medication or ECT/TMS prescriber.
Patients, if you think you would benefit from intravenous ketamine therapy, please speak to your providing psychiatric medication or ECT/TMS prescriber.