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In the United States, a new anti-depression drug was approved for the first time in 30 years, a nasal spray for seriously ill people who no longer use other drugs.
Spravato - the new ketamine
The pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson will launch the new agent under the name Spravato as a nasal spray.
Strict medical control
Spravato will not be freely available, but should only be taken under strict medical supervision, as it can cause serious side effects.
Related to party drug
The main active ingredient in Spravato is esketamine, which is chemically similar to ketamine. The narcotic ketamine creates hallucinations and has therefore spread as a party drug known as “Special K”.
In order to avoid such abuse, those affected may only take the medication in a medical practice or medical institution. You can't keep it at home.
Billions in sales?
Pharmaceutical experts expect the drug to generate billions in sales.
Why is the market so big?
Hundreds of millions of people worldwide are affected by clinical depression. In western countries such as the USA and Germany, severe depression is one of the most widespread mental disorders - number 1 in the USA, number 6 in Germany, but with different criteria.
Antidepressants have no effect on many sufferers
The common antidepressants like Prozac take a few weeks to work, and up to 40 percent of those affected by severe depression do not notice any effect. This is almost unbearable for people in an acute depressive phase.
Spravato could help, because it should work very quickly. As a spray, it gets into the bloodstream via the nasal mucosa and, in trials beforehand, relieved the symptoms in some people over the course of a day.
Opportunity for people with severe depression
If the drug does what the studies promise, there is a chance for the approximately 30 percent of patients for whom the existing pharmaceuticals do not work. In the United States alone, at least 3 million people suffer from severe depression. In Germany, one in three sufferers does not respond to current therapies.
If you suffer from severe depression, your everyday life is massively restricted. Appetite and sleep rhythm do not work, those affected do not enjoy life. These mental disorders massively affect the social and emotional behavior patterns of those affected.
Spravato gets the highest warning for prescription drugs in the United States. Side effects include disturbed attention and suicidality. Increased blood pressure, drowsiness and psychotic phases are possible.
Different effects than with common means
Spravato not only works faster, but also differently than conventional antidepressants. The available means are said to raise the level of the "happiness hormone" serotonin. Esketamine, on the other hand, blocks glutamate receptors.
Therapy in combination with other means
The therapy involves taking spravato twice a week, initially with a conventional remedy.
An expensive treatment
Such a therapy is not cheap. Spravato treatment can cost up to 6,785 a month. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)