In March 2019, the FDA approved the first real game changer in the treatment of depression since Prozac was approved in 1987. Esketamine is a new drug that is administered as a nasal spray. It has been shown to help treat depression in those who don’t respond to other therapies when combined with a new oral medication. In fact, instead of working over the course of weeks like most oral medications, esketamine can help relieve depression symptoms in a few hours. The approval came after an overwhelmingly positive recommendation from advisory committee members in February 2019.
Esksetamine is related to the anesthetic ketamine. Ketamine is also used illegally as a party drug, causing sedation and out of body experiences. This led to some tough decision making from the FDA, but they eventually decided that the benefits outweighed the risks. Treatment-resistant depression can lead to suicide, making this treatment a potential life-saver. In order to mitigate the risks associated with the drug and the potential for abuse, patients will receive the drug twice a week at approved treatment centers.
The approval of esketamine, with the brand name Spravato, comes after a growing number of doctors began prescribing a generic version of ketamine for depression. Johnson & Johnson has estimated that the cost of Spravato will range from $590 to $885.
Treatment-resistant depression is a form of major depressive disorder. Almost 16 million Americans suffer from major depressive disorder and about 5 million of those do not respond to therapies. Depression can have symptoms that range from mild to severe. Some of those symptoms are:
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of depression see a doctor right away. If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide call 911 immediately. You can also reach out to the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Even if you’re not considering suicide, a trained professional will help you and provide resources that you can use to feel better.
If you’re taking prescriptions to combat depression, you may find that some of them are quite expensive. A prescription discount card may help you afford your medication. Simply go to RxLess and search for your medication. Enter the dosage information and scroll down to find the discount card for your pharmacy. The cards are totally free, you only pay the discounted price for your prescription at the counter.