Esketamine, not to be confused with rapper Lil Pump’s infamous catchphrase Esketit, is a mirrored version – also known as an enantiomer in scientific terms – of the well-known anesthetic ketamine. Both ketamine and esketamine are hallucinogenic drugs, commonly-yet-incorrectly thought to be primarily used as a tranquilizer for horses.
Ketamine and its esketamine counterpart have both been shown to work well in the treatment of depression, usually utilized in modern medicine as an alternative treatment for cases of depression that are particularly resistant to the most common kinds of treatment.
Even though ketamine, which was first synthetically created by humans in 1962, and esketamine, which was created 35 years later, have been around for a long time, it’s still great to see that a new treatment for depression is hitting the United States market. Johnson & Johnson has stated that the name brand of esketamine, which will be administered via nasal spray, will be Spravato.
Just yesterday, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved esketamine for use in the United States as a treatment for major depression. All drugs that are currently available in the United States’ pharmaceutical market for treating depression have been around for many years, reports CNN. With mental health issues at an all-time high here in the United States, we need more than just one new treatment for depression – though the recent approval of esketamine is nothing to complain about.
In the clinical trials for esketamine, a drug developed by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson that takes the form of a nasal spray, researchers paired traditional oral antidepressants with the drug. All combinations of antidepressants and esketamine were administered in patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression.
One of the best things about esketamine is that patients see results many times more quickly than in traditional antidepressants like SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which take weeks, if not months, to begin working.
Janssen, the subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson that is responsible for creating Spravato, has stated that the wholesale cost – as opposed to the retail cost that will ultimately be passed on to consumers – of the drug will be anywhere between $590 and $885 per use. Spravato is supposed to be used in conjunction with a psychiatrist’s help for anywhere between one and a few months.
At the recommended dose of two sessions of esketamine use per week, the first month of treatment is slated to cost anywhere between a whopping $4,720 and a hefty $6,785.