Spravato®: A Breakthrough for Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression

Nov 01, 2023
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Treatment-resistant depression is, unfortunately, common, but in recent years, new therapies have emerged that can help. Spravato® nasal spray is one of those therapies offering fast, effective relief. Here’s how it works.

Nearly 30% of Americans have been diagnosed with depression at some point during their lives, according to data from Gallup, marking a significant increase over prior years. While medication and psychotherapy can help many patients overcome persistent feelings of hopelessness, deep sadness, and other symptoms, an alarming number of people have treatment-resistant depression (TRD), in which these traditional therapies are ineffective in helping them achieve meaningful relief.

The good news: In recent years, novel therapies have been developed specifically for patients with TRD, including a nasal spray called Spravato®. In this post, Betsy Serrano, PMHNP, offers an overview of Spravato treatment for patients at Cora Health Solutions in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona.

How Spravato works

Spravato contains esketamine, a medication derived from the anesthetic ketamine, which is also used to manage TRD. But while ketamine comprises two molecules — R-ketamine and S-ketamine — Spravato contains only the S- molecule.

Both ketamine and Spravato work in a similar way to manage TRD — a way that’s different from other antidepressant treatments. Specifically, Spravato targets a brain chemical called glutamate, while most antidepressant medications target the chemicals serotonin or dopamine. All of these chemicals optimize nerve communication in your brain, but they do it in different ways. 

Glutamate in particular is very good at helping your brain regulate mood, including mood changes that happen in depression and anxiety. Glutamate also helps your brain develop new nerve connections, improving the way those nerves communicate with each other. 

Unlike ketamine infusion therapy that’s administered via an IV, Spravato is a nasal spray that’s given to you by your doctor. And, because Spravato only includes the S-molecule component of ketamine, dosing can be optimized to limit potential side effects.

Spravato therapy: the basics

Like ketamine, Spravato isn’t prescribed for home use. It must be administered in a medical office by a practitioner who’s trained in Spravato treatment. Your treatment schedule is based on your specific needs for long-lasting relief.

The treatment itself is completely painless, administered in the same way you’d use a nasal spray at home. However, Spravato can cause side effects that are worth noting. Some people find treatment makes them feel “disconnected” from their environment for a brief period, feelings that can be accompanied by sensations of dizziness or nausea. 

Spravato also makes you feel sleepy or drowsy, so you’ll need to have someone come with you to the office so they can drive you home afterward. You should also plan to relax and rest afterward as the medication takes effect.

It’s also important to note that Spravato is typically used in combination with oral antidepressants, helping those medications be more effective in managing depression symptoms. Following Spravato treatment, most people notice the full benefits within a few days to a few weeks.

Find out more about Spravato

Treatment-resistant depression takes a major toll on your life and your well-being, as well as the well-being of your loved ones. If medication isn’t giving you the relief you need for your depression, Spravato could be the answer. To learn if this innovative TRD treatment is right for you, call 602-584-8919 or book an appointment online with Cora Health Solutions today.