What is SPRAVATO (esketamine)?

SPRAVATO - FDA Approves Esketamine Nasal Spray For Hard-To-Treat Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is one of the most common mental health disorders among adults in the United States today, and a leading cause of both prescription drug usage and disability claims. An estimated 17 million adults have at least one significant depressive episode every year, over 7% of the population of the United States. The percentage increases to over 13% when the age range narrows to adults aged 18-25. (Source: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml)

For nearly three decades (since the late 1980s), individuals with significant depressive symptoms or clinical depression have been treated with a class of prescription drugs commonly called “antidepressants”. In fact, there are a number of different types of antidepressants such as SSRIs (Prozac and Zoloft), SNRIs (Cymbalta and Effexor XR), MAOIs (Nardil and Marplan), and others such as Wellbutrin and Tofranil, to name just a few. Yet while the wide range of different types and formulations of antidepressants enable some patients to find one that works for them, antidepressants have significant limitations for many patients, including the length of time it takes for antidepressants to “kick in” as well as a long list of negative side effects. Most problematic, however, is that for many patients, antidepressants simply don’t work.

SPRAVATO™ Ketamine offers new hope to patients who have not found relief from depression from traditional antidepressants. The first ketamine-based treatment for depression to be approved by the FDA, SPRAVATO™ is a nasal spray composed of esketamine, a derivative of ketamine, a well-known, powerful, and highly effective anesthetic. It is designed for patients with treatment-resistant depression, in other words, for patients who have tried two or more different antidepressants (in appropriate dosages and durations) without positive results.

Ketamine v Esketamine Infographic

I suffer from clinical depression. Should I try SPRAVATO™?       

If you suffer from a major depressive disorder and have tried at least two different types of traditional antidepressants without relief from depressive symptoms, SPRAVATO™ may offer a more effective treatment option. Spravato is an option for patients, however, the success rates are not as high as Ketamine Infusion Therapy since it’s a nasal spray. This nasel treatment is designed to be administered two times per week for a period of four weeks, then one time per week for an additional four weeks. If effective, SPRAVATO™ can then be taken once a week or once every two weeks, depending on effectiveness. According to manufacturer specifications, it should be taken along with a daily oral antidepressant.

Clinical studies involving SPRAVATO™ are now showing what many physicians and psychiatrists have believed for quite some time: that low dose ketamine, or esketamine in the SPRAVATO™ formulation, offers fast-acting and highly effective relief from depressive symptoms. At four weeks, patients utilizing STRAVATO™ demonstrated fewer depressive symptoms than those patients who utilized a placebo (both in conjunction with the use of a daily oral antidepressant). Moreover, while SPRAVATO™ does carry a risk of side effects, like all medications, those side effects were—generally speaking—less severe and disruptive than some potential side effects of antidepressants. In order to continue managing known and potential side effects of SPRAVATO™, all patients seeking to start treatment will be enrolled in a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Study (REMS), required by the FDA.

While the nasal spray is self-administered, it must be administered while in the clinic and while under the close supervision of a healthcare professional. Once you administer the spray, a healthcare professional will monitor you closely for two hours to watch for any negative side effects. It is important to note that you will need to plan transportation to and from each SPRAVATO™ treatment, as you cannot drive or operate machinery until the next day. During your initial consultation, your healthcare professional will help you understand what to expect during a typical treatment session and how to prepare; it’s important at this time to inform your provider about all medications—including any over-the-counter medications—that you are currently taking.

If you are suffering from depression and are among the 30% of individuals who have not found relief from traditional antidepressants, ketamine-based treatment options may be the right solution for you. We encourage you to contact us for more information.

For more information about Ketamine Infusion Therapy treatments for depression, bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and other conditions contact us at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles in Southern California (Orange County) by clicking here or calling  310-270-0625.


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