Treatment-Resistant Depression: Can Spravato® Help?

Antidepressants combined with psychotherapy is the most common treatment for depression — but sometimes it isn’t enough when you have major depressive disorder.

When you’ve tried at least two types of antidepressants without any decrease in symptoms, you have what’s known as treatment-resistant depression. Despite its name, there is a treatment that can help: Spravato®.

At 2nd Chance Treatment Center in Phoenix, Glendale, and Gilbert, Arizona, we administer this recently FDA-approved medication to help treat your depression when other methods haven’t been successful. When used under our supervision, Spravato can help you finally find relief from your depression symptoms.

What is Spravato? 

Spravato is a prescription nasal spray that was approved by the FDA in 2019 to treat adults with treatment-resistant depression. It can also treat depressive symptoms in adults with major depressive disorder with suicidal thoughts or actions.

The main ingredient in Spravato is esketamine, which targets the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in your brain to improve your depressive symptoms. It’s unknown exactly how Spravato works, but studies have shown both short- and long-term benefits of the medication when used in conjunction with oral antidepressants.

Spravato can only be administered by approved providers like us so you can be monitored for potential side effects such as dissociation, sedation, and dizziness after your treatment.

How Spravato can help 

About 30% of the 16 million adults in the United States with major depressive disorder have treatment-resistant depression. When used along with an oral antidepressant, Spravato can more quickly and effectively decrease symptoms than traditional treatments for depression.    

Studies have shown that Spravato can reduce severe depression symptoms in as little as two days, with significant improvement seen at around four weeks. Comparatively, it can take several months or longer to see the effects of antidepressants and therapy.

People who use Spravato for long-term maintenance of their symptoms, or who are stabilized, may be in remission from their depression symptoms longer than those on oral antidepressants alone.

Spravato isn’t for everyone 

To determine if Spravato is a good fit for you, we review your complete medical and depression treatment history during your consultation. 

While it can be a worthwhile treatment for many people, Spravato isn’t recommended for people with uncontrolled high blood pressure, a history of bleeding in the brain, or blood vessel disease. 

You’re also not a candidate if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you’re allergic to esketamine, ketamine, or any of the ingredients in Spravato.  

Getting started with Spravato

If we determine that Spravato is appropriate for your treatment-resistant depression, we can provide the treatment in our office. You administer the nasal spray yourself under our supervision, and we observe you for a couple of hours afterward to monitor for potential side effects. 

We assess your blood pressure both before and after treatment to make sure it hasn’t increased. You’ll need someone to drive you home from your appointments because your mental alertness and motor coordination may be affected.

You take Spravato twice a week for the first month and once a week for the second month. After that, you’ll continue to take it either once a week or once every two weeks. You’ll continue taking your oral antidepressant and participating in therapy along with Spravato treatments.

The length of time you’ll need to be on Spravato depends on how well you respond to the medication and how stable your symptoms remain. We monitor your symptoms at every treatment to make sure they're improving.

To find out if Spravato can help you get relief from your depressive symptoms, call us at any of our locations, or book an appointment online today. 

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