ANTI-DEPRESSION SPRAY APPROVED BY FDA
“An anti-depression spray? That’s something new,” you think. And you are correct.
Johnson & Johnson launched a new nasal product called Spravato.
Whether Spravato will actually rid us of depression, though, is the big question. This is the first time in 30 years that the FDA has approved a cure for this disease.
It is possible that this is a breakthrough. At any rate, it’s a bold step for the FDA, and here’s why…
But first, let’s talk limitations. It is approved for adults only, and even then not for just any adult. It is only for those who did not respond to the two “classic” pills.
In other words, you would have had to take them, anyway.
Now for the interesting stuff. If you have not read about this before, but have some general knowledge about psychoactive drugs, you might be able to guess what this new medication is based on.
The answer is ketamine, or more specifically esketamine.
Ketamine is a well-known pain medication that began use in the 1960s. Some substance enthusiasts took the drug with a different motivation, though – it can cause hallucinations.
Recently, however, they find that it’s helpful in the fight against depression.
But esketamine (a type of mirror-like version of ketamine) works twice as well. There are fewer side effects, like intoxication, and it is more quickly eliminated from the body.
How effective was Spravato in clinical trials? It worked better than the placebo in only one case out of three. This, again, speaks to the determination of the FDA – they typically do not move this hastily. Approval usually takes 8-12 years.
On the other hand, though, the market (patients, more specifically) is literally groaning in anticipation of something more effective than classic treatment. Depression is now one of the main causes of temporary disability.
There are concerns, of course, that the spray might cause an opioid-like addiction, but the company vows to keep a close eye on patients.
HOW MUCH DOES THIS SPRAY COST?
According to calculations, one round of treatment is about $1000 and there are 8 rounds a month.
For patients who do not have insurance, or their insurance does not cover it, this will only make their depression worse.
But we will, as always hope for the best.
Photo by Dan Farrell on Unsplash