Avesta Advocates for the Breakthrough Therapies Act

On March 13th, 2024, Avesta joined the Veteran Mental Health Leadership Coalition and Reason for Hope alongside Senators Cory Booker and Rand Paul to advocate for the Breakthrough Therapies Act. The event aimed to rally congressional support for the Bill, which could revolutionize access to psychedelic medicine. Avesta’s co-founder, Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, played a vital role in bringing attention to the Act’s transformative potential. Read more on our blog post highlighting the event here.

Avesta Partners with Veterans Affairs (VA) to Offer Free Ketamine Therapy to Eligible Veterans

Veterans with treatment-resistant mental health conditions have more options for care as Avesta launches a free ketamine therapy program in partnership with the VA

WASHINGTONFeb. 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Avesta Ketamine and Wellness (“Avesta”), a leading provider of innovative mental health treatments, announced a partnership with Veterans Affairs (VA) to offer free ketamine therapy to eligible veterans. This initiative, available now in Avesta ketamine clinics across Washington, DCNorthern Virginia, and Bethesda, Maryland, will help veterans overcome treatment-resistant depression (TRD), PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain, and substance misuse disorders.

Nearly a million veterans live in Washington, D.C.Maryland, and Virginia, and thousands suffer from mental health issues. Up to 18% of those deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq have faced PTSD or depression. And nearly 9% of military ambulance calls stem from depression-related incidents. TRD has contributed to the highest veterans’ suicide rates in history, with over 6,000 dying each year.

Avesta seeks to address these challenges by offering IV ketamine infusions and/or Spravato treatments to veterans who have not found relief through traditional therapies. Avesta already partners with the Veterans Mental Health Coalition, a coalition committed to ending veterans’ suicide, and views this new partnership as continuing its mission.

Over a decade of clinical data show one ketamine session rapidly alleviates depression and suicidal thoughts. Six or more sessions combined with integration therapy produce even more enduring benefits. A Little Rock VA Clinic study showed that 86% of veterans showed significant improvement in TRD.

Most VA clinics do not offer ketamine therapy. However, private in-network partnerships make this life-saving treatment more accessible. Thanks to Avesta’s Veterans Care Agreement, veterans near McLean, VirginiaBethesda, Maryland, and Washington D.C. are eligible to receive treatments at Avesta without financial burden.

“Our partnership with the VA marks a pivotal moment in our commitment to veterans,” said Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, founder and co-CEO of Avesta and pioneer with over 20 years of experience in teaching and administering ketamine. “We recognize veterans’ unique challenges and their struggle to find compassionate care. By providing VA-covered ketamine treatments, we honor their sacrifice and aid in their healing.”

The process for veterans to access ketamine therapy at Avesta is streamlined. Those within the VA healthcare system can begin by consulting with their primary care physician, chronic pain specialist, or psychotherapist to evaluate their suitability for ketamine. Eligible patients’ doctors will submit authorized referrals to Avesta. Upon receiving the referral, Avesta’s care team quickly coordinates a personalized plan for Spravato or IV Ketamine with the patient.

Avesta recognizes that some veterans may not be eligible for VA healthcare. It accounts for this gap through its partnership with TenTen Life, a non-profit that provides counseling and coaching to veterans and first responders. Additionally, Avesta’s Veterans Discount Program provides reduced pricing for current and ex-service members.

“Free ketamine therapy for veterans is critical at a time where traditional therapies fail to address the root causes of depression, and private ketamine prices are often a barrier to entry,” said co-CEO Deborah Tan. “We are not just treating symptoms at Avesta; we are nurturing hope and recovery.”

Avesta operates under a rigorous standard of care. Its licensed clinicians and trained coaches provide a supportive and safe environment. The new VA program is a testament to Avesta’s dedication to pioneering mental health care and its unwavering support for veterans.

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The Science Behind Ketamine: Unraveling its Impact on the Brain

Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, LAc, FAAN is interviewed about how Ketamine works in the brain. Ketamine offers hope to people suffering from conditions that have not responded well to traditional therapies.

Listen Here on The Rehab podcast

Avesta is an Advocacy Consortium Clinic

As of February 1, 2021, the national Ketamine Taskforce for Access to Safe Care and Insurance Coverage has been launched. The Taskforce has a mission to ensure access for pain and mental health patients to safe ketamine treatments through insurance coverage of the therapies.

Latest government estimates show that 50 million Americans are estimated to experience chronic pain and 50 million are estimated to live with a mental health condition (with much overlap between the two populations). The great news for these patients is that ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic, has been used off-label for both mental health and pain conditions for decades with high efficacy and safety.

The unfortunate news is that insurance organizations around the country typically consider the use “experimental” and therefore do not cover it in its entirety or at rates that are fair to ketamine providers. This has left the tens of millions of Americans experiencing mental health conditions and pain with huge suffering and lack of access to affordable treatments. This presents a huge obstacle to the majority of mental health and pain patients who are forced to forego this life changing treatment because they cannot afford to pay out of pocket.

In light of this heartbreaking reality, the Ketamine Taskforce was created to increase access to lifesaving ketamine treatments. The Taskforce brings together patients, doctors, nurse anesthetists, nurse practitioners and researchers from around the country behind this goal.

The Taskforce has built an Advocacy Clinic Consortium — a network of clinics who are aligned in this mission and who plan to contribute aggregated, de-identified real-world data on the efficacy of ketamine for analysis and submission to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The Taskforce has already made progress on an application for adequate reimbursement coverage to CMS, who has requested real-world evidence to aid its diligence process.

More About the Mission

Dr. Ladan Eshkevari on the 1Girl Revolution podcast


1Girl Revolution

Dr. Eshkevari was interviewed by Arlington Magazine!

“Out of the Pandemic, Growing Concerns About Teens and Mental Health”

Click here for more information!


Ketamine’s promise as an antidepressant is being undermined by its lack of profit

January 01, 2020

Esketamine, the first new method to treat depression in 25 years, is gaining credibility. Last year, Janssen Pharmaceutical’s ketamine-based drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression. And on Aug. 3, the FDA followed up with a second approval, allowing doctors to prescribe the tranquilizing drug to patients experiencing suicidal ideation.

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How Ketamine Combats Depression

June 01, 2020

The anesthetic drug ketamine has been shown, in low doses, to have a rapid effect on difficult-to-treat depression. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet now report that they have identified a key target for the drug: specific serotonin receptors in the brain. Their findings, which are published in Translational Psychiatry, give hope of new, effective antidepressants…

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Effects of Rapid-Acting Antidepressant Ketamine Consolidated in Sleep?

April 26, 2020

Ketamine alleviates depressive symptoms within hours, with the most significant change typically seen a day after its administration. However, the symptoms often reappear within a week. According to researchers at the University of Helsinki, neural connections strengthened by the quick treatment of depression are consolidated in the brain during the deep sleep periods of the following night. To prevent the circle of negative thoughts regaining supremacy, depressed patients also need therapy.

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More Than Just a Trip: Why Does Ketamine Work for Depression When Nothing Else Does?

March 10, 2020

Even though depression is a common and debilitating mental illness, the last groundbreaking medication released for it was Prozac, approved in 1987. Throughout the last 20 years, though, research scientists have discovered that ketamine, a common anesthetic and, at times, a recreational drug, is a rapid and effective medication for treatment-resistant depression.

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Ketamine Builds Neurons

April 12, 2019

Scientists have demonstrated that Ketamine actually increases dendrites, parts of nerve cells involved in signaling, that have been otherwise lost due to chronic stress, allaying depressive behavior-NPR.

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Ketamine Offers Lifeline for People with Severe Depression, Suicidal Thoughts

August 04, 2018

Ketamine is a powerful medication used in hospitals primarily as an anesthetic, but recent scientific studies have shown significant promise with treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation.

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From Chaos To Calm: A Life Changed By Ketamine

June 04, 2018

Ketamine’s story took a surprising turn in 2006, when researchers at the National Institutes of Health showed that an intravenous dose could relieve severe depression in a matter of hours. Since then, doctors have prescribed ketamine “off label” to thousands of depressed patients who don’t respond to other drugs.

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Ketamine gaining popularity as a treatment for the severely depressed

February 02, 2018

Today, Ketamine is being provided legally off-label to treat depression at an estimated 250 clinics across the U.S.

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‘The Fog is Gone’: How Ketamine Could Help Lift Hard-to-Treat Depression

January 31, 2018

William Jamieson is only 23, but he’s already spent almost one-third of his life battling severe depression.

Once a top student and athlete with a large group of friends, the young Ottawa man fell into a depression at age 16 that he couldn’t shake.

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New Hope for Depression

July 27, 2017

There hasn’t been a major depression-drug breakthrough in nearly three decades, but a number of factors are conspiring to change that. Scientists are gaining a more nuanced picture of what depression is–not a monolithic disease, but probably dozens of distinct maladies–and they’re getting closer to learning what works for which kind of ailment.

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