Voted the #7 Top 10 Medical Innovation for 2017, “Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)” raised many eyebrows. Having unsavory applications, ketamine is rarely used in the medical space. But for individuals with TRD, it just might be a saving grace.
In 2013, ketamine was studied for its ability to target and inhibit the action of N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors of nerve cells in patients with TRD. The results were overwhelmingly favorable. Initial studies indicated that 70% of TRD patients saw an improvement in symptoms within 24 hours of injection of a low dose of ketamine.
The studies prompted the FDA to grant Fast Track Status to the development of new NMDA-receptor-targeting medications based on the ketamine profile. This includes esketamine, a drug to lower the ketamine dosage and be administered through a nasal spray. Esketamine received breakthrough status by the FDA in August of 2016.
In March 2019, esketamine nasal spray was approved by the FDA, in conjunction with an oral antidepressant, for adults with TRD. The drug is currently only available through a restricted distribution system, under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). But its long-awaited approval brings it closer than ever to the patients who need it most.
Read more at ConsultQD.