Depression: Esketamine trial leaves ‘more questions than answers’
A phase 3 clinical trial testing Esketamine nasal spray in the treatment of severe depression found the spray mostly safe and effective. The findings led to the recent FDA approval of this treatment. Despite this, other researchers caution that “more questions than answers” remain.
Esketamine is a form of ketamine, which doctors typically use as an anesthetic. Recent research has accumulated evidence that this substance can also quickly reduce the symptoms of severe depression, such as suicidal ideation.
These were the findings of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study from 2018, which suggested that an Esketamine nasal spray could produce quick and positive short-term effects for individuals at risk of depression for whom traditional antidepressants had failed
However, the authors of that study also expressed a worry that without proper risk assessment, using Esketamine for depression could lead to unwanted side effects, such as psychosis and depersonalization.
Do you think this can actually help reduce the number of individuals who end up committing suicide because of depression?