Depression affects many people's lives, and while there are many options in terms of treatment, many are slow and take days or even weeks for a person to feel the benefits. In addition, a large percentage of people diagnosed with depression are unresponsive to many modern treatments.
Now, a new treatment option among researchers is gaining in acceptance and could cause a rapid relief of symptoms for individuals with pre-existing conditions not responding well to other antidepressants. The treatment, a nasal spray called esketamine, is the subject of a new research report published in the American Journal of Psychiatry (19459004). The study was extensive and included over 200 adults at dozens of outpatient centers over nearly two years. Individuals who participated in the study were divided into two groups. All subjects said they had not responded to previous treatment options, making them the perfect test subjects for the novel drug.
Half of the subjects received the nasal spray with esketamine in one of two strengths along with a new oral antidepressant that varies from person to person. The other group received a new oral antidepressant and a placebo nasal spray. At the end of the study, there was a clear difference between the two groups, with the group receiving the esketamine spray reporting significantly greater symptom relief after the 28-day trial.
"This esketamine trial was one of the key studies in the review of this treatment by the FDA for patients with treatment-resistant depression. Supplementary esketamine therapy was not only effective, but the improvement was evident within the first 24 hours, "said Michael Thase, M.D., an author who participated in the study, in a statement. "The novel mechanism of action of esketamine, coupled with its rapid action, underscores the importance of this development for patients with difficult-to-treat depression."
As Thase explains, the new nasal spray has just received approval from Food and Pharmacy for this drug and other studies that have shown efficacy in treating depressive disorders in combination with an oral antidepressant.