FDA Approved a Drug Derived by Ketamine to Treat Severe Forms of Depression

FDA Approved a Drug Derived by Ketamine to Treat Severe Forms of Depression


The US Food and Drug Administration added a new drug to the shelf. The agency announced that it had approved a new drug with esketamine. It is a secondary type of ketamine. Doctors mainly use the drug for patients’ who are resistant to other antidepressants. The chemical is also a strong anesthetic. People across the world use ketamine illegally in clubs as “Special K”. But the new drug developed by Johnson & Johnson is in the form of nasal spray. It is for patients with difficult to treat depression. The agency and healthcare industry neglected the drug for a long period of time. But the agency reconsidered it for a severe type of mental illness. Before this medicine, the FDA approved Prozac, which arrived in the market more than three decades ago.

Spravato, the nasal spray, developed by J&J should be taken along with an oral antidepressant. The agency recommends it for people who have previously used other drugs and don’t feel better. So the patients who have not reacted to other cures can use the nasal spray in combination with an oral antidepressant. Esketamine works similar to that of other antidepressants. The powerful drug lifts patients’ moods within a few hours. Whereas, it can take weeks for other antidepressants to achieve the result. According to the FDA, about 7.4 million people in the US suffer from treatment-resistant depression. The figure also increased the risk of self-destruction or suicide, hospitalization, and other severe damage.

Dr. Tiffany Farchione announced the news of approval in a press release. He is an acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Dr. Tiffany said the drug would only be available in certified clinics. He added, it must be supervised under the observation of a healthcare provider. The dosage depends upon the patient’s severity of depression. The drug may be given either weekly or once every other week. Still, it remains expensive to treat depression; the treatment could cost around $900 per session. After gaining this approval from the FDA, it may obtain coverage by insurance companies.

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