Depression is a debilitating condition that impacts millions globally, and it requires urgent and effective treatment strategies. Esketamine nasal spray has emerged as a beacon of hope, announced to be a breakthrough in the world of psychiatric medicine. This post aims to explore this innovative solution in depth, assessing its potential as a revolutionary treatment for depression.
Before we look at esketamine as a treatment option, we should first understand depression as a condition. Depression is not simply a moment of sadness. It is a severe and persistent mental health condition that impacts mood, behavior, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, depression affects not just the mind but the body. It leads to many issues, including fatigue, pain, and digestive problems. All of these impacts diminish a person’s overall quality of life.
According to the CDC, 6.7% of the population will experience a depressive episode this year, and 14% will have an episode within their lifetimes. Over 40% of patients have a treatment-resistant form of clinical depression, which does not respond to medications. Ultimately, depression is common and is unlikely to go away on its own, and it calls for thorough and effective interventions.
The traditional treatments for depression include medications and psychotherapy. However, the success of these treatments is not consistent from one person to the next since mental health treatment is not a one-size-fits-all situation. With that in mind, mental health experts are constantly exploring other effective and functional solutions for people who have not yet found relief.
What is Esketamine?
Esketamine is derived from ketamine, a well-known anesthetic. It has been redeveloped as a revolutionary, fast-acting antidepressant nasal spray, designed to alleviate depressive symptoms rapidly.
Esketamine is used on top of antidepressants to treat treatment-resistant depression. The reason the esketamine works when antidepressants alone do not is that it does not work like an antidepressant. Typical antidepressants raise the levels of certain chemicals like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin that naturally occur in the brain as neurotransmitters. Raising the levels of neurotransmitters is what results in fewer depression symptoms and improved mental health.
Esketamine works similarly to antidepressants, but it increases the brain’s most prevalent chemical messenger: glutamate levels. Increased glutamate levels result in a greater reach and more substantial impact on brain cells with a single dose compared to antidepressants alone.
Esketamine treatments are an office-based, outpatient procedure. Patients will self-administer the nasal spray under the supervision of a healthcare provider and in a comfortable, safe setting. The patient will be monitored during and after the treatment for two hours.
The FDA has approved esketamine as a legitimate intervention for treatment-resistant depression, marking a significant advancement in mental health treatment options.
Advantages of Esketamine
Rapid Action: Esketamine’s ability to act swiftly is its crowning glory, a vital feature for those struggling with severe depression who need immediate relief. Some patients even begin to show improvement after just one treatment. However, it usually takes the full course of treatments (12 sessions over a two-month period) to achieve the maximum benefits.
Treatment-Resistant Depression: Someone may be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression if they haven’t found relief from two or more antidepressants. Based on the pivotal trial for the treatment of depression in the clinical setting, which used esketamine with an antidepressant, about 70% of patients with treatment-resistant depression had at least a 50% reduction in symptoms. In the same trial, about 50% of patients had complete remission of symptoms, which means that their depression symptoms were no longer present at all.
Its success in cases where other treatments have failed offers a new lifeline to those who have exhausted all other avenues, presenting new hope and possibilities.
Ease of Use: The nasal spray method is not only convenient but is also a more appealing alternative to pills or intravenous methods, which can be intimidating to some individuals.
Concerns and Side Effects of Esketamine Nasal Spray
Safety Concerns: While the breakthroughs with Esketamine are promising, concerns surrounding its safety are a top priority. Responsible use and administration by a mental health professional are critical to avoid potential abuse or detrimental effects.
Potential Side Effects: Users may experience various side effects, including dizziness, elevated blood pressure, and a disconnection from reality, underscoring the importance of careful consideration and monitoring of its application.
Limitations: It is important to understand that mental health treatment plans are not a one-size-fits-all situation. As such, treatment plans may take longer or require different treatment option combinations to work best for certain patients. It is important for patients to communicate clearly with their provider about how their treatment plan is working. Collaboration between patient and provider can greatly impact the results of a patient’s wellness journey.
Also, esketamine may not be suitable or appropriate for certain populations or conditions. It is important to discuss with a mental health professional to see if esketamine is appropriate for you.
Ethical Considerations of Esketamine Nasal Spray
Medical Ethics: When using Esketamine, it’s important to do so in the right way, to ensure it is used properly and safely. That is why at Mindful Health Solutions, esketamine treatments are done in our safe and comfortable clinics by mental health professionals. Patients are monitored for two hours after treatment to ensure they have a safe and healthy experience.
Off-Label Use: Esketamine is only FDA-approved for treating treatment-resistant depression and suicidality. However, patients who have been treated with it have also found it to help with substance abuse disorders, pain, PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. However, the data has not been strong enough to receive FDA approval for these other indications.
Patient Experiences with Esketamine Nasal Spray
Real people have found real relief through esketamine. Many patients who have undergone esketamine treatment for depression have reported positive experiences. Patients have reported improvements in their mood and overall quality of life. Additionally, many patients appreciate the non-invasive nature of the treatment and the fact that there are few side effects.
Watch the video below to learn about one of our past patient’s experience with TMS treatment.
If you’re struggling with depression and traditional treatments have not been effective for you, esketamine may be a viable treatment option to consider. As with any medication, it is important to discuss potential benefits and risks with your healthcare provider. With the right treatment approach, you can manage your symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. Esketamine holds the promise of transforming lives and shaping the future of depression treatment.
Are you interested in getting started with esketamine treatments? Call or text us today at 844-867-8444 and we’d be happy to answer any questions and discuss your options.