The FDA has officially approved esketamine, a ketamine-based drug, to help treat depression. This type of ketamine therapy is the first new depression drug to be approved since the 1980s.
Johnson & Johnson developed a drug, Spravato. It’s a nasal spray deaned to treat severe and treatment-resistant cases of depression. Esketamine is based on ketamine, which has been an increasingly popular alternative depression treatment in recent years due to its effective and quick results.
A review board recently voted to approve the drug, and the FDA officially approved it last week. The board signaled there were still some issues and side effects. They recommend the nasal spray is most effective in a medical environment rather than at home due to the risk of abuse and the common side effects such as disassociation, nausea, and dizziness. However, they felt the benefits far outweighed the risks.
This is a significant development. Ketamine has a taboo reputation due to its popularity as a party drug known as Special K. It’s only been in recent years that doctors have been going off the label and using it treat depression with great results. Since then, doctors use it to treat a whole range of disorders. Many hope that as ketamine therapy becomes more accepted for depression, further studies will be done to examine how effective it is in treating these other conditions.
In addition to fight back against its reputation, this new drug is also historical in that it’s the first new depression treatment in 35 years. Many traditional antidepressants have been the same for decades. And many patients do not respond to them or experience horrible side effects. So, doctors are currently happy to see that depression treatments are advancing.
If you want to learn more about ketamine therapy, or are wondering is ketamine treatment can help with your depression, please feel free to contact us!
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.