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FDA Approves Nasal-Spray Ketamine-Like Drug For Depression, Esketamine

This is the first medicine of its kind in years.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a chemical cousin to Ketamine and Lil Pump sound effect called esketamine for treatment-resistant depression. The drug has been developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (of J&J) and sold as Spravato.

This won’t be sold to just anyone who has depression. It is for those who have tried two other medications without success and should be taken with an oral medication.

The FDA decision came Tuesday, with the panel voting overwhelmingly in favor of approval.

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"There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition," said Dr. Tiffany Farchione, acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, in a press release about the decision.

An approved medical provider in a medical clinic or doctor’s office will administer Spravato. It can be self-administered, but only under direct supervision of a care provider. It cannot be taken home obviously to prevent abuse.

The drug maker says that it is faster acting than other anti-depressants and works by restoring brain cells in patients with treatment-resistant depression. It has a range of side effects like nausea, vomiting, feeling drunk, anxiety, lethargy, increased blood pressure, a feeling of being temporarily "disconnected" from your body and your mind and sedation and dissociation according to CNN.

This won’t be cheap. Johnson & Johnson says that wholesale cost of each treatment with esketamine will range from $590 to $885 according to NPR.

In a time where depression and mental illness is finally starting to get the attention it deserves, notably in music, it is good to see more treatments being created. Some in dance music obviously have abused Ketamine; so don’t be surprised to see this also out on the dance floor and in the DJ booth as well. It is less potent, so that may make it more attractive for some who don’t want the totally dissociative properties of Ketamine, but want the “other” effects of the drug. We hope though that it is used for its original purpose though.

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