Spravato (or esketamine) is a relatively new treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Spravato in 2019 specifically for “treatment resistant depression (TRD).” This indication does not include bipolar depression however, so if you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, unfortunately this treatment is not for you. If your doctor has suggested or referred you for this treatment, you have likely already tried two or more antidepressant medications and still are struggling with depression. Some patients are not referred by their doctors but have seen an advertisement for this medication in a magazine or on a television commercial and want to learn more about it. Regardless of how you heard about Spravato, keep reading to learn more about the medication.
You’re probably wondering if this medication is right for you. To answer that question, we must go over the remaining criteria for treatment eligibility. Other than failing two antidepressants previously, other criteria includes being 18 years of age or older and you must currently be on an oral antidepressant. Spravato is designed to work with your current treatment, and not to be used alone to treat depression.
Interestingly, there has not been a new drug approved specifically for TRD in close to three decades until Spravato. This medication has a unique mechanism of action that differs from all of the other antidepressants on the market. It blocks a specific receptor in the brain called “NMDA” which leads to a positive cascade effect ultimately treating depression. It’s a nasal spray and that is also unique in its design, compared to the standard tablet or capsule.
Another major advantage is that results can be seen as early as 24 hours of the first treatment! This is truly a unique and groundbreaking advantage. This positive and robust effect must be continued, however, with twice-weekly treatment over the span of four weeks to optimize effect. After four weeks, the treatment can be stopped or continued for further benefit, usually weekly for the next four weeks. All treatments are conducted in person at our certified treatment center under the care of a physician and nurse.
To learn more about Spravato, please call our office at 703-812-4642 so that we may set you up with a consultation with our Spravato team.