ketamine nasal spray. A new medication coming to the market may help these people with so-called treatment-resistant depression. It’s a nasal spray called esketamine (Spravato) that was recently approved by the FDA. ketamine nasal spray
“For people who are not getting enough help from currently available antidepressants, this could be something that could be added to that and possibly get a better response, in the short-term,” says psychiatrist Amit Anand, MD, who is also Vice-Chair for Research at the Center for Behavioral Health and Director of the Mood Disorders Program.
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Currently, for patients who are very depressed, potentially suicidal and not responding to currently available antidepressants, the next step is to offer electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), Dr. Anand says. These treatments use electric currents and magnets, respectively, to stimulate nerve cells in the brain.
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ECT is a time-tested, effective treatment which can make people come off the depression in matter of days or a few weeks. But it comes with its own set of undesirable side effects. ketamine nasal spray
“You have to be put under general anesthesia for ECT, and some people complain of memory problems afterward,” he explains. “It also has a social stigma attached to it.”
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Dr. Anand is hopeful that esketamine can become an easier alternative to these treatments when a quick response is required. He’s currently the lead investigator on a large multi-site clinical trial that’s testing out whether ketamine infusions are as effective as ECT therapy for these patients.
“Up until now we didn’t have anything except ECT for patients who are suffering and who are not responding to the other medicines,” he says. “Ketamine can probably give us one other option to use to get people better quickly, and this won’t involve any anesthesia and probably won’t cause any memory problems.