FDA Approves Ketamine Nasal Spray for Depression Treatment


Ketamine, Special K, K, Kit Kat–you know it as the “party drug”. Did you know that it can be reduced to its chemical cousin called esketamine? The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.‘s nasal spray called Spravato. Containing the compound, it is the newest treatment for depression.

Spravato is a nasal spray that may be recommended for patients with treatment-resistant depression. For anyone that has a history of depression with two failed successes on medication, here is their alternative. You no longer need prescribed oral antidepressants (at the physician’s discretion), you can take this as a direct supplement.

Prescribers recommend usage once a week or once every other week. Depending on the severity of depression in the patient, this spray must be administered inside a doctor’s office. Self-administration under a health care provider’s supervision is the other option. Please note that the spray cannot be taken home. While these rules seem stringent, it’s for the safety of its potential abuse and side effects.

Side effects

Here are the details you’ve been waiting for. Feelings of dizziness, nausea, vertigo, anxiety, lethargy may arise. An increase in blood pressure, vomiting, feeling drunk, or decreased sensitivity may also occur. Dissociation–a feeling of being temporarily ‘disconnected’ from your mind and body–is not uncommon. This is the typical side effect of ketamine’s regular use.

Want to know more about the chemical cousin compound? According to the FDA’s press release, esketamine is the s-enantiomer of ketamine. This is the first FDA approval of its kind for any use and marks new approaches in treating serious mood problems.

With current depression treatments proving ineffective in 30 – 40 percent of cases, this latest drug trial seems innovative and promising.

Read the full press release via FDA here.