As an individual with treatment resistant depression seeking hope and help, you may wonder what the differences are between some of the treatment options available to you. Some options sound very similar, like Ketamine and Esketamine (brand name Spravato®). These options may sound like one in the same at first glance, but do differ slightly. Ketamine and Esketamine (Spravato®) are similar in that they are both alternative treatments for those individuals with treatment resistant depression. Ketamine is an anesthetic. Esketamine is a derivative of Ketamine.
They both increase levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger in the brain. These neurotransmitters are stimulated and repair neural connections that address depression symptoms. They are both administered on an outpatient basis however, via different routes. One is administered intravenously and one is administered intranasally.
The administration of both medications involves close monitoring by medical staff. They are used safely under supervision but some patients may experience side effects with Ketamine or Spravato®.
Some patients report:
Irritative and inflammatory urinary tract and bladder problems including cystitis have been reported in individuals with a history of chronic Ketamine use or abuse.
Some patients report:
In conclusion, although these medications are slightly different, they are also similar in that they both offer relief from depressive symptoms. Some patients report improved symptoms within hours of administration of IV ketamine. Response to Spravato® often requires several weeks or longer.
Dr. St. John began providing outpatient ketamine infusion services in early 2017 and began prescribing Spravato® after it became available in 2019. If you feel your treatment for depression isn’t working, Dr. Martha St. John and her team are available to discuss whether Ketamine IV Therapy or Spravato® is right for YOU. Her primary goal has been to provide care that is both accessible and highly effective. She will make sure to discuss all potential side effects and interactions and make sure your treatment plan is right for YOU.