How Much Does Ketamine Depression Treatment Cost?
When considering ketamine treatment, patients want to know how much ketamine depression treatments cost. While the cost of ketamine itself is low, the cost of a ketamine treatment is not. Many people with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder (the depression phase of which ketamine has been shown to treat successfully) are not able to work full-time and thus are not able to afford the costs. People with chronic pain are also sometimes treated with ketamine in the same way.
Nevertheless, many people are able to afford the cost of ketamine treatments and those who can’t have an option as well.
The Cost of Ketamine Treatment for Depression
Ketamine is typically given via intravenous (IV) infusion over the course of about 45 minutes and is generally administered by a psychiatrist or anesthesiologist. A few doctors offer intranasal or intramuscular options as well. When an IV infusion is given, vital signs are monitored throughout and patients are often monitored for a period of time (such as 30 minutes) after the infusion is complete.
According to the Ketamine Advocacy Network, in the United States, it costs between $400-800 per ketamine infusion plus there is an initial fee for consultation and assessment of around $350. Initial tests and consultations are critical as some medications are contraindicated during ketamine treatment as are some conditions such as psychosis. Those with addiction issues also may not be candidates for ketamine treatment.
Some providers put the cost of ketamine infusions at more than $1000 per treatment, but these are the exception.
How Many Ketamine Infusions Are Needed?
The cost of ketamine treatment for depression depends a lot on how many infusions a person gets. This is individual, but the research shows that multiple ketamine infusion is more effective than just one and according to the ketamine treatment provider Boston MindCare:
“Closely spacing infusions in the initial treatment phase (two to three infusions per week), then fine-tuning an individual's regimen with well-timed maintenance infusions, appears to confer the best hope of success.”
Most patients do require long-term ketamine treatment for depression every few weeks.
Why Does Ketamine Treatment Cost So Much?
While the cost of ketamine depression treatments may seem high, it is on par with other procedures that require an IV drip. The ketamine itself may only be $10, but the cost of the qualified staff, equipment and the facility needed to administer it are expensive.
Insurance Coverage for Ketamine Infusion Costs
According to the Ketamine Advocacy Network, no insurance, Medicare or Medicaid pays for ketamine treatment for depression. This is because ketamine for major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder treatment is not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved. Most ketamine treatment providers do accept credit cards and may offer financing options.
If You Can’t Afford the Cost of Ketamine Treatment for Depression
The option for people who can’t afford the cost of ketamine depression treatment is to become enrolled in a clinical trial. Enrolling in a clinical trial carries its own risk but the benefits may outweigh those risks for an individual who is not experiencing success with any other depression treatment. More information on ketamine clinical trials can be found through the Ketamine Advocacy Network here.
Last Updated: 20 September 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD