Esketamine is an alternative form of treatment for those with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) who have tried medications without success. Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a hard condition to manage and trying to find a medication that works well for each patient can be a difficult and time consuming task. With esketamine, patients have been finding relief from their symptoms that they couldn’t find from antidepressants alone.

The FDA approval for esketamine only covers it as a treatment used together with an antidepressant and only patients who meet specific criteria can take it. The criteria include:

  • Patients have tried at least two other antidepressants for a minimum of six weeks each, and have not experienced remission, or
  • Patients did not have at least a 50% improvement in mood or depressive symptoms.

Esketamine only gets incorporated into the patient’s customized treatment plan if:

  1. A patient fits into one of those two criteria listed above.
  2. Their provider believes that esketamine could work for them and their unique needs.
  3. The patient is comfortable with trying esketamine.

If all the pieces fit, esketamine can be a great treatment option to find relief from depression symptoms.

Excitingly, the FDA recently approved esketamine to treat people who are indicating warning signs of committing suicide.

Also, Ketamine, which is similar to esketamine, has been used off-label to treat ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, substance use disorders, pain, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. However, the data has not been strong enough to receive FDA approval for the treatment of these conditions. We are looking forward to seeing where the research takes the use of esketamine, and we hope to utilize it in more of our treatment programs in the future.

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