On Tuesday, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that it has officially accepted Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Eskeatamine for treating depression. Well, the nasal spray antidepressant is chemically similar to the most abused Ketamine drug, signaling for the first time a great advancement in medical history for treating depression. Moreover, Ketamine has also been used for years also as a powerful anaesthetic in order to prepare patients for surgery. From the 1990s, Ketamine has been used on many occasions as the club/ party drug Special K, because of its ability to create psychedelic and out-of-body experience.
However, now the drug would be sold as Spravato. It would be given to patients who were not able to find relief even with at least two antidepressant medications. Studies have shown that around 7.4 million American adults suffer from treatment-resistant depression that increases the risk of suicide, serious harm, and even hospitalization, according to the FDA.
The FDA approved Spravato, known chemically as esketamine, based on the results of a study showed that patients taking the drug went through the greatest improvement in their depression levels than patients taking a feigned treatment when measured with a psychiatric questionnaire.
Spravato is a nasal spray that would be provided by an approved health care provider in a doctor’s office or in a medical clinic. It might be self-administered but only under the supervision of a care provider and cannot be taken home. For safety issues, the drug would be only available through a restricted distribution system and it must be dispensed in a certified medical office where the health care provider can monitor the patient. Depending on the seriousness of the patient’s depression, it would be given either once a week or once every other week.
According to Janssen, The drug is quickly acting, so it starts working faster than other antidepressants. The drug works by restoring brain cells in patients with treatment-resistant depression.