US approves ketamine nasal spray for depression

For the first time in nearly 30 years, a new drug has been proposed and approved for the treatment of severe cases of depression. It is called "Spravato" and is a type of nasal spray with the main active ingredient, esketamine. It is the enantiomer of ketamine, an effective antidepressant and hallucinogenic agent popular in countercultural movements since the 1960s.

Ketamine has been a patented drug for decades, making it more expensive to manufacture and distribute. Therefore, when its ability to help people cope with depression was discovered relatively recently, a lot of clandestine pharmacies appeared in the United States, where the cost of a dose reached $ 1000. Esquetamin is considered less effective, but it also has fewer side effects, and most importantly, this drug can be produced without draconian deductions to patent holders.

Interestingly, only one of the three short-term clinical trials of Spravato showed clear positive results, in all other cases its effectiveness did not differ much from placebo. But American medical officials insist that there is an urgent need for new antidepressants in the country, and therefore such a result is quite acceptable. In addition, severe depression cannot be cured in several sessions, it is a matter of months, if not years, of therapy - therefore, the application and study of Spravato will be conducted in parallel.

At first, Spravato will only be prescribed to patients who have been unsuccessfully treated with at least two traditional methods. The drug will not go on free sale, it will not even be given to the patients, the reception will be carried out only under the supervision of certified doctors and strictly dosed. The manufacturing company is required to establish mass production of the drug as soon as possible in order to radically reduce its cost. There is no exact data on the future price yet.