How Esketamine helps in treating Treatment-Resistant Depression?
Esketamine is approved by the FDA and is a nasal spray medication for treatment-resistant depression. This nasal spray is available only at a certified doctor's office or clinic.
Treatment-resistant depression (TRD):
Treatment-resistant depression is diagnosed in patients who do not find relief from depressive symptoms even after taking antidepressants or undergoing psychotherapies.
A person has to be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression only after a thorough assessment by the doctor. It is reported that one-third of people with depression experience major depressive disorders with symptoms like prolonged sleeplessness or suicidal thoughts.
Esketamine Spravato's role in treating TRD:
While oral antidepressants can take several weeks to bring in noticeable changes in depressive symptoms, Esketamine shows the effect in a few hours. Esketamine is self-administered by the patient in the form of a nasal spray under the supervision of a doctor at the doctor’s office. You might have to stay in the doctor's for 2-3 hours after receiving Esketamine, for the healthcare provider to monitor any side effects.
Esketamine is not a new medicine in the market. It is made from Ketamine, which has been used to treat depression. Esketamine was approved by the FDA only in 2019 and has been used extensively in conjunction with oral antidepressants to treat patients with major depressive disorders and TRD.
Lower levels of neurotransmitters are said to be one of the causes of depression. Though oral antidepressants help in increasing the levels of these chemical substances, Esketamine targets the chemical substance "glutamate" which is responsible for making more active and new connections, thereby reducing symptoms of depression more effectively than other oral antidepressants.
Side effects of Esketamine:
Side effects of esketamine include anxiety, dissociation of thoughts, sleepiness, nausea, lethargy, or increased blood pressure. Severe side effects include suicidal thoughts or extreme changes in behavior. You need to get immediate medical attention in case you notice severe side effects. Your doctor will closely monitor you for any side effects that you experience after taking the Esketamine nasal spray.
How effective is Esketamine?
Though there might be side effects, in cases where the benefits outweigh the side effects, Esketamine is recommended. Compared to patients only under oral antidepressants, patients who underwent Ketamine treatment in conjunction with oral medications noticed a significant reduction in depressive symptoms within four weeks. Also, it is recommended to continue the Esketamine Spravato treatment since there are better results on patients who continued the treatment versus the patients who discontinued.
Are there any patients who are at risk and are not advised to use the Ketamine nasal spray?
Expecting mothers, patients with high blood pressure or poorly controlled heart diseases are not recommended to take Esketamine. Your doctor will discuss other viable treatment options if you fall under a high-risk category and refrain you from undergoing treatment using Esketamine. You also need to discuss any other medications that you are currently taking for any other diseases like epilepsy, depression, or anxiety.
Other treatment options:
Though Esketamine comes as a relief for people with major depressive disorders and TRD, it might not be recommended to women who are pregnant, children, or people who are under medications that might interfere with Esketamine. There are other treatment options like ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy), rTMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) that are safe, FDA approved, and proved to efficiently treat depression and other mental illnesses.
TMS for You, understands and treats every patient differently and we make sure that the best treatment option is provided considering the patient's medical health. We are an expert team of psychiatrists with vetted experience in helping people with different mental health conditions. Please feel free to book an appointment or avail of our telemedicine services.