Saturday, December 4, 2021

Nasal spray trialled for depression

A Melbourne medical clinic is offering a new anti-depressant nasal spray Spravato as part of a clinical trial for severely depressed patients.

The Albert Road Clinic says the new medication shows “tremendous promise” and marks a new era in the battle against depression and suicide, according to researchers. 1

Spravato (esketamine hydrochloride) blocks the glutamate NMDA receptor in the brain and can produce a rapid mood-improving response that is sustained.

Albert Road Clinic enrolled the first patient in Australia to a clinical trial of Spravato.

National Lead Investigator Professor Malcolm Hopwood (pictured) said the aim of the trial is to understand the effectiveness of Spravato on severely depressed patients and its impact on their quality of life. 

“This trial represents a great opportunity for Albert Road Clinic to offer such a novel therapy for patients,” Prof Hopwood said.

Produced by Janssen-Cilag, Spravato recently gained Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval for adults with treatment resistant depression.

“Spravato is the only approved inhibitor of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor for treatment resistant depression in Australia,” Prof Hopwood said.

“We hope for this treatment to become an additional wide stream option for cases of hard-to-treat depression.”

One in seven (about 5 million) Australians will experience depression in their lifetime. One-third of Australians living with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) try multiple antidepressant treatments without relief.

Spravato is registered but is not funded by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

“This means it’s out of reach for many patients,” Prof Hopwood said.

“Albert Road Clinic is funding the service, which involves nurse supervision in an outpatient clinic.”

Spravato is being trailed in combination with an oral antidepressant and is available at select trained sites throughout Australia.

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