Fast-acting nasal spray against depression shows success

Fast-acting nasal spray against depression shows success

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Study confirms the effectiveness of the new antidepressant

A new drug is the hope for severe depression. Esketamine nasal spray is said to quickly and effectively alleviate the symptoms of severe depression, even if other antidepressants have already failed. A recent study has now confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the new antidepressant nasal spray.

Around every third depression cannot be treated with common antidepressants. A newly developed drug can effectively alleviate such depression, according to a recent study. The fast-acting esketamine nasal spray has now been successfully tested on around 200 adults with moderate to severe depression in whom at least two other antidepressants have previously failed. The study results were recently presented in the "American Journal of Psychiatry".

Significant improvement in treatment-resistant depression

The study participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group received an initiated new antidepressant (duloxetine, escitalopram, sertraline or venlafaxine) in combination with the new nasal spray. A second group also received an anti-depressant and a placebo nasal spray. After 28 days, the esketamine nasal spray group showed significantly greater improvements than the placebo group.

First improvements within the first 24 hours

“This study shows that adjuvant esketamine therapy is effective. The first improvement occurred within the first 24 hours, ”study author Michael Thase explains in a press release on the study results. The novel mechanism of action of esketamine represents an important development for the therapy of depression that is difficult to treat.

How Safe is Esketamine Nasal Spray?

Some patients reported side effects that occurred shortly after ingestion but resolved within 90 minutes. This included confusion, nausea, dizziness and a change in taste. Seven percent of the participants stopped the study because of the side effects.

Specialist warns of potential for abuse

In an accompanying commentary on the study, Dr. Alan Schatzberg of Stanford University School of Medicine on the potential risk of esketamine abuse. The effect is similar to the ketamine that is used both for pain therapy and against depression. Due to its dissociative effect, ketamine is also used worldwide as a drug. Ketamines can cause a distortion of the sense of space and time, visual hallucinations and out-of-body experiences. Schatzberg fears that a nasal spray with esketamine could establish itself as a new party drug.

Author and source information

Video: Deep Brain Stimulation for Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Progress Report (May 2022).