Johnson & Johnson’s Spravato is approved as the first-ever nasal anti-depressant to reduce the risk of suicide in people. This approval has been granted considering the high impact of the on-going pandemic on the mental health of the common public.
The U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted this fast track approval to this nasal spray so that more people could be saved from suicidal attempts.
Michelle Kramer is the vice president of the U.S. neuroscience medical affairs unit at Johnson & Johnson’s explains this product to help 17 million US citizens who are diagnosed with a major stress-related disorder.
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Spravato by Johnson & Johnson’s has been tested on nearly 6000 people to know its benefits against persistent depression after it was initially approved last year. The idea to study its effects in people diagnosed with any depressive disorder was to check its efficiency in those often-exhibiting suicidal thoughts. This is a new trend used by any company to include the people contemplating suicide.
The idea behind creating this nasal anti-depressant was to find an easy to use product which works faster and better than the typical anti-depressants. Normally, it takes weeks and months for these anti-depressants to work. But in the earlier trials, J&J reported a significant increase in thinking of the users. However, there was no drastic distinct effect as compared to the placebo group.
Gerard Sanacora the director of the Depression Research Program at Yale University is the investigator for these trials. He says that the information obtained from the studies on this nasal drug shows that it may help the physicians to recommend something to their patients which is easy to use. This nasal anti-depressant is small and hands which is why it could be used in between a depressive episode.
The US has high suicidal rates even before this pandemic started earlier this year. The risk has been increased by up to 30% within the last two decades and it is still on the rise. Considering how this on-going pandemic has affected the mental health of the people, a product like this ketamine nasal spray may be a real help.
The recommendations of staying at home, avoid going in public, meeting people, isolation and lockdown have negatively affected people. It is even worst for people living with medically identified mental diseases.
According to Kramer, the research team was able to see the benefits of this nasal spray in terms of stabilizing the patients suggesting its positive role in stress management. Granting it an authorization will help millions of people who are currently feeling helpless or are unable to follow a suggested treatment plan.
Spravato shares a similar structure with anesthetic ketamine and these two only differ on the basis of triggering the glutamate system inside the brain instead of working on serotonin production or norepinephrine release.
The drug was initially approved last year in March. It is a major development in terms of medicines for stress management since 1987. The research team hopes that this nasal antidepressant is able to reduce the suicidal rate.