The Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) has officially opened the Advanced Interventions in Mood Disorders (AIM) Clinic, marking a significant step forward in the treatment of severe mood disorders.
The clinic offers novel treatments to reduce depressive symptoms and improve the quality of life in people with difficult-to-treat depression.
One of the treatments made available is low-dose ketamine. Only current patients of the RMH and Western Health mental health services can be referred to the clinic.
“The idea of ketamine being a treatment for depression has been around for a while and gathering a fair bit of evidence behind it, moving out of research programs into the clinical space,” said AIM Clinic Director at the RMH and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Melbourne, Professor Chris Davey.
The ketamine treatment is provided by intravenous infusion over a period of 40 minutes, at a lower dose than used in anaesthesia. Consumers will attend the clinic twice a week for three weeks for an acute course of the treatment.
“In collaboration with the University of Melbourne, we will be integrating research with our clinics,” said Prof Davey.
“This research will also include brain imaging studies of patients being treated with ketamine, to better understand the antidepressant response.”
Currently, the clinic has an initial capacity for about 50 consumers annually, which Prof Davey hopes will continue to grow in the years ahead to support more Victorians.
“The ketamine treatment service is a really good way to offering an evidence-based treatment that is very hard to access and providing it to people with severe depression, who have tried a number of treatments that have not worked previously,” he added.
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