Ketamine: The Future of Depression Treatment?

Treatment then consists of six infusions over 12 days. Each infusion lasts about 45 minutes. Side effects, which often include confusion, lucid daydreaming, and fuzzy vision, clear up quickly. Patients are watched closely and must have pre-arranged transport home. They’re barred from driving or using heavy machinery for 24 hours.

Abreu says in his experience, the side effects “go away as soon as the infusion is over, and patients don’t have hallucinations.”

Abreu says about three quarters of his patients aged 15 to 55 benefit from ketamine. Older patients have a lower response rate. The initial six infusions cost $3,800, the beneficial effects of which last anywhere from 3 to 5 weeks for some patients, and up to 12 weeks for others. Patients return as needed for single boosters, which cost $600. Because the FDA has not approved ketamine for this use, insurance doesn’t cover it.