Those who have suffered from treatment-resistant depression may not have to look much further to find relief. The FDA has recently approved the use of esketamine for patients who have failed to respond adequately to at least two other antidepressant medications. After years of clinical trials and a month of deliberation, a panel of experts voted in favor of the new treatment. Since treatment-resistant depression plagues those who suffer for many years on end, this new treatment means patients may find the kind of relief they never believed would be available. 


Esketamine, which is being marketed under the name Spravato, is administered as a nasal spray, and is different than the comparable alternative—ketamine infusions—which are delivered intravenously. However, just as ketamine infusions are administered at treatment centers, Spravato must also be administered the same way. While receiving esketamine, which is administered once or twice a week, patients are also prescribed antidepressants and encouraged to seek out psychotherapy. The combination of both drugs with the talk therapy provides the patient with both immediate and long-term benefits. Ketamine treatments usually provide relief within 1-2 days of the first treatment, while antidepressants usually provide relief after a 4-6 weeks.


“Esketamine works through a mechanism different from those of drugs like Prozac…and that is probably why studies show it can often help people with major depressive disorder who haven’t been helped by other drugs,” said Dr. Dennis Charney, dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.


While Spravato underwent years of clinical trials on its road towards FDA-approval, ketamine infusions were widely available at clinics like ours across the country. Ketamine has been FDA approved as an anesthetic and analgesic since the 1970s—its patent has long since expired.  Its unpatentability rendered it undesirable for pharmaceutical companies to fund the clinical trials needed for it to gain approval as a depression treatment, but it did spark the development of drugs like Spravato, which mimic the effects of traditional ketamine. 


The hope with Spravato was that insurance companies would cover the cost of treatment, making it more affordable than ketamine. Generic intravenous ketamine infusion treatment usually costs the patient on average, $500-800 per dose. However, The wholesale cost of each esketamine treatment is even pricer, at $590 to $885, depending on the dosage. Subsequent weekly treatments will only cost half as much. 


We’re sure that this new drug will settle into its position in mental healthcare, and we’ll continue to learn more about both Spravato and ketamine, and how they work to treat mental health conditions. Check back with our blog, as we’ll continue to share news and information about developments in the use of Spravato.


Contact Interpersonal Advanced Treatment


If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, sadness, nervousness, or hopelessness, reach out today, and schedule a free consultation. Our ketamine clinics are located in Kansas City, MO and Lawrence, KS. Interpersonal Advanced Treatment is one of the country’s leading ketamine clinics and our highly experienced and qualified staff can guide you in a direction of hope and happiness.