US okays ketamine-like drug vs depression

J&J nasal spray gets U.S. approval as first new type of anti-depressant in decades

The approval comes after an FDA advisory panel in February voted heavily in favor of the drug esketamine, saying its benefits outweighed the risks.

The new drug is approved for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

The anti-depressants available at present of the likes of Eli Lilly and Co's Prozac impact the neurotransmitters - serotonin and norepinephrine.

The drug, esketamine, which will be sold by Johnson & Johnson as the nasal spray Spravato, has been highly anticipated by psychiatrists as a powerful new tool to fight intractable depression, according to The Washington Post. Esketamine and ketamine work by targeting glutamate, unlike now used antidepressants that target serotonin, and doctors were already using ketamine off-label to treat depression, according to the AP. Studies have shown that ketamine can relieve symptoms of depression within hours, rather than the weeks it takes for traditional antidepressants to start having an effect.

The drug is created to be lower-dose and easier to use than ketamine, which is normally given as an intravenous infusion.

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In the United States, an estimated 16 million adults live with depression.

Timothy B. Sullivan, MD, chair of psychiatry and behavioral science at Northwell Health at Staten Island University Hospital, echoes these thoughts: "There is a significant number of people who suffer from major depression who either respond partially or not well at all to the current available treatments".

The FDA's approval of Spravato is only for patients with depression who have failed to find relief with at least two other drugs.

A long term study of the drug showed that patients in stable remission taking the drug that continued the treatment were 51 percent less likely to relapse as compared to those who continuously took a placebo with an oral antidepressant.

The list price of a drug is not necessarily what patients actually pay.

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The FDA has approved a new type of treatment for depression.

A decades-old drug, ketamine is already used off-label to treat depression by some doctors. Out-of-pocket costs vary based on an individual's healthcare plans and the duration of treatment.

But he hopes that doctors who are now using ketamine continue to do so.

The drug will cost between $590 and $885 depending on the dosage and before various insurance discounts and rebates. Therefore, the department of food and drug has limited the use of the drug to the doctor's office or at a medical centre / facility, under the supervision of a trained staff.

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