If someone has depression and does not see a reduction in symptoms after taking antidepressants, a psychiatrist may prescribe esketamine or ketamine therapy, which is also referred to as racemic ketamine. Both are a form of ketamine, which is a medication that has been used as an anesthetic for decades. Scientists have discovered that ketamine…
Treating Major Depressive Disorder with a Ketamine Therapy: Esketamine
Major depressive disorder is a serious mental health disorder that affects millions of people. Someone with MDD should see a psychiatrist as soon as possible, as suicide is a major risk. Although antidepressants are common treatment methods, not only are they ineffective up to 80% of the time, but they also take weeks to months until results begin to appear. As an alternative, esketamine works fast and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat major depressive disorder with imminent suicide risk.
Major depressive disorder symptoms
Other names for MDD are major depression and unipolar depression. Major depressive disorder occurs more commonly in women, possibly because they have more hormonal fluctuations related to puberty, childbirth, and menopause. Common symptoms and signs associated with MDD include:
- Negative thoughts with the inability to think positively
- Irritability and agitation
- Sadness and crying for no reason
- Sleep issues
- Withdrawal from people and activities
- Suicidal thoughts
A psychiatrist will often recommend a variety of treatment methods for someone with major depression. These include antidepressants, talk therapy, and somatic therapies. However, if a patient is having suicidal thoughts or is a danger to himself or herself, a doctor may prescribe a quicker-acting treatment, such as esketamine.
Information about esketamine
Esketamine is made up of the S-form of ketamine, which is a medication that has been used for decades as an anesthetic. Although researchers are still working on it, the theory of how esketamine works is that it restores the glutamate neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to balance other neurotransmitters and molecules to restore brain function.
The FDA approved esketamine for two main uses. One is major depressive disorder with acute suicidal behavior or ideation. In this situation, esketamine may be the first-line treatment method. The other use is for treatment-resistant depression. This condition is depression that has not responded to other treatment methods. A psychiatrist will generally only prescribe esketamine after a patient has tried at least two antidepressants and noticed no symptom reduction.
Esketamine is an intranasal spray that is absorbed directly into the nasal passages. The initial timeline for administration is twice per week for four weeks. After this, a patient will come in every week or two.
A patient administers the spray, although it is done while being observed by a psychiatrist or other trained healthcare provider. This observation occurs for two hours after the patient administers the spray, and its purpose is to monitor side effects.
As with any medication, esketamine has potential side effects that patients should be aware of. One is dissociation, which is also known as out-of-body experiences. Other potential side effects that a healthcare provider will be monitoring include sedation, dizziness, and high blood pressure.
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Esketamine may help someone who has depression and is at a high risk of suicide. A psychiatrist will evaluate a patient to determine if it is a good option.
Major depressive disorder is dangerous to a patient because suicide is an imminent risk. If you are concerned, contact our office to meet with a psychiatrist to see if you are a good candidate for esketamine.
A psychiatrist who treats patients who have treatment-resistant depression has a new treatment option in their arsenal. Ketamine and esketamine treatment can help patients start seeing relief from depression symptoms in as little as 24 hours when used in combination with traditional antidepressants. However, it is important for patients to consider whether their insurance company…
Not everyone responds to traditional depression treatment like antidepressants. For those with treatment-resistant depression, a psychiatrist may prescribe ketamine therapy, as it has shown to be effective in those who cannot find another way to reduce their symptoms. Although this therapy is beneficial, it is generally not used as an initial treatment, and there are…