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How Spravato® Differs From Traditional Antidepressants

Sep 14, 2022
 How Spravato® Differs From Traditional Antidepressants
When it comes to treating depression, no single method works for all. Spravato® is the newest treatment option that activates different chemicals in the brain than traditional antidepressants, causing rapid relief from symptoms.

Most people suffering from depression experience improvements in their symptoms once they start taking the right antidepressant. However, about one out of every three people with major depressive disorder (MDD) fail to achieve remission with traditional antidepressants.

At MGM Ketamine Center in Oradell, New Jersey, our highly skilled physicians, Dr. Haviva Malina and Dr. Cheryl Malina, see firsthand how innovative medications like Spravato® ease symptoms in patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Here, we explain how Spravato differs from traditional antidepressants.

About antidepressants

Antidepressants are a class of prescription medications that treat depression. They work by improving how your brain uses the chemicals — serotonin and norepinephrine — that influence mood. 

There are many types of antidepressants, and each type works differently. Many people with depression need to try more than one medication before finding the prescription that provides the best relief from their symptoms and causes the fewest side effects. 

Despite having many options, some people are unable to get relief from their symptoms with traditional antidepressants.

About Spravato

Spravato is a nasal spray that’s FDA-approved to treat adults with TRD and MDD with suicidal thoughts or actions. Esketamine, a derivative of ketamine, is the active ingredient in Spravato.  

Like traditional antidepressants, Spravato affects brain chemistry. However, this medication increases levels of glutamate, a chemical messenger that stimulates nerve cells. 

Researchers are still investigating how Spravato improves depression symptoms, but they theorize increasing glutamate levels stimulates the brain to reactivate or create new neural connections.

People with chronic depression lose important brain connections, prolonging their mood disorder. Spravato helps the brain regrow these lost connections, improving mood.

Antidepressants can take weeks to work. Spravato works immediately, relieving symptoms within hours.

Is Spravato right for me?

Our team can help determine if Spravato is right for you. If you have TRD or MDD with suicidal thoughts or actions, and you’ve tried at least two traditional antidepressants but continue to suffer from symptoms, we may consider you a candidate for Spravato.

Spravato is an in-office treatment. Initially, we have you come in twice a week for one month and then once a week the following month. You then continue with treatments once a week or once every other week.

Administering Spravato takes only seconds, but we have you remain at the office for two hours so we can monitor your reaction to the medication. You must arrange to have someone drive you home afterward, and you should take it easy for the remainder of the day.

When using Spravato, you must continue to take your antidepressant medication. 

A different kind of drug

Depression affects everyone differently and there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. Spravato relieves depression symptoms by creating new neural pathways, while antidepressants improve how the brain uses the chemicals that control mood. 

If traditional antidepressants are failing to help you get relief, we can talk to you about your other options. Call the MGM Ketamine Center office, or book a consultation online today.