Have Traditional Treatments for Depression Failed? Here's How Intravenous Ketamine Infusion Works

While there are a number of options to treat depression, including therapy, antidepressants, and electroconvulsive therapy, some men, women, and adolescents still struggle to find relief from their feelings of sadness and hopelessness. If this sounds familiar, intravenous ketamine infusion therapy could be right for you. 

Here at Boston MindCare, in Lexington, Massachusetts, Jason Yee, MD, and Isabel Legarda, MD provide ketamine infusion therapy for men, women, and adolescents suffering from severe depression. With Inspiration from a loved one's success with ketamine infusion therapy and a desire to share this innovative treatment option with all those struggling with depression, the practice was founded in 2014. The practice has a truly patient-centered focus and aims to help guide patients on their path towards healing using ketamine. 

Ketamine facts

Originally synthesized in 1962, ketamine has been used as a medical anesthetic. In recent years, experts have discovered its power to treat severe depression as well.

Approximately 16 million adults in the United States experience a major depression episode during the year. While many respond to traditional treatments such as the more than 20 medications currently approved by the FDA, about one in three people do not respond at all. Even for those who do find relief, months of trial and error may be required to find a drug that works effectively.  

Alternatively, ketamine is a medication that can bring results relatively quickly and can make not just a noticeable difference, but can often induce a dramatic change in individuals. Ketamine works by restoring the structure and function of the brain which has been altered by depression. Over a short period of time, ketamine can essentially remodel the brain and bring patients back to their full potential. 

Treatment specifics

Our ketamine infusion therapy begins with a medical review, mental health evaluation, and a question-and-answer session.

The infusion is given intravenously over a period of 40 minutes with preparation and recovery time in the beginning and at the end of the infusion. Within the first three weeks, we typically give 6 infusions with additional treatments as necessary. After this initial phase, we will evaluate if additional treatments will be necessary.

How individual patients respond to ketamine can vary and we will work closely with you to achieve your goals. Any side effects that you may experience will typically resolve within 30 minutes after the treatment ends. For patient safety, we do request that patients have someone to drive them home afterward. 

The timeframe for improvement can vary. There are some patients that may experience improvement even after one treatment. There are also patients that may take up to six treatments before they feel the significant benefit. The more typical course is gradual improvement over time with most patients feeling better by treatment number three or four. Many patients for whom ketamine has been a last resort have reported that ketamine has been life-changing by allowing them to return to a normal life and to become functional individuals again. 

If you have tried a variety of treatments for depression and nothing has worked, ketamine infusion therapy may be able to help you. To learn more, book an appointment online to receive a call from our staff or call us directly at Boston MindCare today.

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