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For people with depression, or major depressive disorder, life can be a lot to handle. For those with depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressant medications, it can be even more challenging. Fortunately, in cases where someone is experiencing treatment-resistant depression (TRD), there are helpful alternatives. These alternatives most often involve treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), psychotherapy and even esketamine doses. 

Are you new to the world of treatments for TRD? You may not know what esketamine is, let alone how it differs from its parent drug, ketamine. Ketamine is anesthesia often used during surgical procedures. It’s designed to make patients unconscious and relieve pain. This anesthetic drug is administered via intravenous (IV) infusion. Esketamine (also known by its brand name, Spravato) is a different version of ketamine. It’s administered via nasal inhalation and is used to treat people with treatment-resistant depression.

Hoping to learn more about these two drugs? Keep reading the sections below to determine how esketamine and ketamine are similar. You’ll also learn how they differ and why you shouldn’t be afraid to try esketamine for your treatment-resistant depression.

How are esketamine and ketamine similar?

Esketamine and ketamine are similar for reasons other than sounding almost the same when said out loud. You can read more about the similarities of esketamine and ketamine below:

  • They both come from the same anesthetic drug — One of the top similarities between esketamine and ketamine is that they’re derived from the same chemical compound, just developed into separate forms. Esketamine was developed from the drug ketamine, but they’re administered in different potencies for unique purposes.
  • They both can be used to treat depression — Another similarity between esketamine and ketamine is that they can both be used to treat depression. Licensed clinicians can use both drugs to treat a person with depression. Although ketamine is conventionally used as an anesthetic, it can also treat depression.
  • They both are considered controlled substances — Both esketamine and ketamine are considered controlled substances. Each substance can only be administered under the supervision of a licensed medical professional in a medical setting, like a clinic or hospital.

How do esketamine and ketamine contrast?

Now that you understand some similarities between these two drugs, let’s delve into the differences between esketamine and ketamine: 

  • Only one is FDA approved to treat depression — You might be interested to know that only esketamine is specifically approved by the FDA to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression. While both esketamine and ketamine can be used for depression by a clinician, only esketamine is specifically designed for this purpose.
  • They’re administered differently — One of the key differences is that esketamine is administered to patients via a nasal spray, while ketamine is usually administered through an IV injection. 
  • Only one is likely to be covered by insurance — Esketamine is also the only drug of these two to be covered by private insurance, Medicaid or Medicare.

What are the benefits of taking esketamine for treatment-resistant depression?

There are several benefits of taking esketamine for TRD that are worth considering:

  • Esketamine treatments can decrease TRD symptoms within four weeks of being administered.
  • Esketamine treatments can build new neural connections within the cerebral cortex.

Let Active Path Mental Health improve your treatment-resistant depression

When you’re experiencing depression that won’t respond to most treatments, life might feel overwhelming. Mental health disorders can cause a person to feel like their life is spiraling out of control. Many report feeling lost or hopeless. The psychological effects are immense when you pair that with treatment resistance. Fortunately, treatment from our Active Path team can help you control your TRD symptoms. Our aim is to improve your quality of life. Let us help you work toward a promising future. 

Active Path Mental Health is proud to say that patients can receive treatment from locations in both Oregon and Washington. The team members at each one of our locations are dedicated to helping patients recover from their mental health disorders. 
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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