Health Care

Newly approved ketamine-based depression drug could help people in the Ozarks

Newly approved ketamine-based depression drug could help people in the Ozarks”

The news comes with much hope and excitement-but also several caveats. If the drug doesn't work, physicians can quickly switch to other options, he noted. Patients who have treatment-resistant depression reported "rapid and sustained improvement" of symptoms. "Anything that promises to help address the needs for that population is really exciting".

J&J's Spravato, which is chemically similar to commonly-abused ketamine, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday, making it the first new depression treatment in more than 30 years.

The decision comes after an FDA advisory panel recommended approval of the drug, Spravato, which is created to treat depression in patients who have not benefited from two or more antidepressants. The drug is called "Esketamine" and is used as a nasal spray. The drug, a nasal spray that manufacturer Johnson & Johnson has branded Spravato, is a close chemical relation to ketamine, an anesthetic that is known for its heady effects on the brain.

Esketamine is a departure from Prozac-era of antidepressants. But esketamine also seems to have an effect on the opiate system.

"My concern is that we don't really how it gets people un-depressed", Mark George, MD, a psychiatrist and neurologist at the Medical University of SC in Charleston, tells Health.

Esketamine is the s-enantiomer of ketamine.

Spravato can only be administered in a doctor's office.

The license means patients can only receive the treatment called Spravato under medical supervision.

The makers of the nasal spray told HuffPost UK they submitted an application to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in October 2018 seeking approval for the medication to made made available in Europe (including the UK).

"You can feel it coming on, it's a strong drug", she said, describing colors and shapes that drift before her eyes.

In addition to the risks mentioned above, Spravato's warning label alerts patients could be at risk for having troubles with attention and suicidal thoughts and behaviors after the drug has been taken. Patients are required to sign a form attesting that they understand they need to make arrangements to safely get home and that they can not drive or use heavy machinery on the day they receive the drug. The spray acts within hours, rather than weeks or months as is typical for current antidepressants, and could offer a lifeline to about 5 million people in the United States with major depressive disorder who haven't been helped by current treatments, which accounts for about one in three people with depression.



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