What You Need to Know About the New Nasal-Spray Depression Drug

Posted on March 14, 2019


Up to one-third of adults with major depression battle symptoms such as persistent feelings of sadness, trouble sleeping, fatigue and suicidal thoughts that don’t respond to treatment. Yet there’s been very little new on the market since Prozac® (fluoxetine) revolutionized the treatment of depression in 1988. Until now. The Food and Drug Administration approved the nasal spray esketamine as the first new type of treatment for depression in over three decades.

Here’s what you need to know:

Esketamine is not as effective in those over 65. Company data submitted to the FDA for approval, based on more than 1,700 adults with treatment-resistant depression, found that more than two-thirds of those who took esketamine (brand name Spravato) along with a new oral antidepressant experienced significant relief of symptoms within four weeks, compared with only about half of those who took a placebo. They were also less likely to relapse over the long term.

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