A Frightening New Frontier in Telehealth: Ketamine

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Searching online for alternatives last fall, he found a clear deal: $129 a month, ketamine included. He filled out Joyce’s intake questionnaire, made a 20-minute virtual appointment, and received a prescription all in one night.

“I was like, ‘Wow, I didn’t even plan on this today, and here we go,'” he said.

Joyce is the new kid on the at-home ketamine block, showing where market forces and scant regulation have taken the new industry. The company has tried to differentiate itself by promoting its tech-driven, customizable treatment plans, but the real draw for many patients is its price.

“I signed up for Joyce, if we’re being honest, just because of the price,” said Francisco Logar, who, like Mr. Curl, found the treatment at the clinic effective but very expensive.

Joyce shows the reality of how ketamine has evolved at home: according to interviews with The Times, patients with some of the most serious and complex mental health challenges are receiving some of the most hands-on treatment.

The company has hit its stride with a new approach: Instead of prescribing high doses to be taken once or twice a week, Joyce offers lower doses to be taken daily.

Mixing the logic of Silicon Valley and self-care, Joyce offers treatments primarily by text message, replete with exclamation points and emojis. Each morning, patients received a questionnaire on their phone asking about symptoms and side effects, and each evening, they received a text message with the next day’s recommended dosage.

“Our algorithms use all this information to design protocols tailored to what your brain and body need,” Sharon Niv, co-founder and head of customer experience, says in a video. In a written response to questions from The Times, the company said its generic treatment approach has been adapted and used by providers nationally and internationally “for more than five years” and that its internal data indicated that “this drug concerns And highly effective for both depression.” It declined to provide details about how its technology works.

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