Ketamine Treatment For Depression

Ketamine Nasal Spray

Ketamine: Alternative Depression Treatment Option

The FDA very recently approved a groundbreaking nasal spray, called esketamine, which serves as a treatment for severe depression. This treatment is ketamine-based and can be used along with anti-depressant medications as a method for better managing symptoms. This drug has been indicated to be effective in clinical trials when used to help individuals when their depression has been determined as treatment-resistant. “Resistant” means that at least 2 anti-depressants and/or ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) have not been effective in treating depressive disorders.

In fact, many patients in clinical trials for this treatment received relief from symptoms within 24 hours.

Dr. Franco Sicuro has been a principle investigator for Ketamine clinical trials and now offers this treatment for individuals who are suffering from depression. He provides this treatment in an outpatient setting for those in the St. Louis area.

Ketamine Clinic

So how does this treatment option for depression work?

The process is simple. Esketamine is administered via nasal spray — one in each nostril. This treatment is done in-office and under the direct supervision of our medical providers. Once administered, the individual is under clinical observation for 2 hours following the dosage. This is only to ensure proper administration and safety. On the day of the visit, the individual under treatment must have transportation arranged, as they are not permitted to drive within the same day that this treatment is administered.

Although the length and frequency of ketamine treatment can vary, there are 2 phases of treatment that are generally followed to ensure maximum potential for treatment efficacy:

Induction Phase

This phase marks the introduction of treatment and typically lasts 4 weeks. The esketamine doses are administered twice per week.

Maintenance Phase

This phase is divided up into 2 parts and is a longer duration. During weeks 5 through 8, the treatment is administered once weekly. Then week 9 and after, it can be either once per week or every 2 week — ultimately depending on individual needs and responses to treatment.

Treatment-Resistant Depression Help

If you’ve been treated with anti-depressants and/or ECT under the care of a healthcare provider and it hasn’t proven to be effective, there is still hope. Ketamine treatment for depression is an option that may be worth exploring. It has been indicated to help with treatment-resistant depression when used with anti-depressant medication. Call our office today for an evaluation to determine if this option would be appropriate for you.

Major Depressive Disorder

If you have a medical history of major depressive disorder, then you’re among the 16 million Americans who suffer from the symptoms of this condition on a daily basis.  Symptoms of major depressive disorder include:

  • Inability to focus
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Negative thinking that doesn’t stop
  • Passive death wish
  • Suicidal thoughts with plan (in more severe cases)
  • Unusual weight changes (in association with other depressive symptoms)
  • Low energy
  • Increased sleep

Unfortunately, depression can even render someone unable to function from day-to-day. Going to work, school, or even to the store can seem like a daunting task that “just can’t be done”. And with some individuals who seek treatment, traditional treatment options such as SSRIs, SNRIs, individual therapy, or intensive outpatient treatment doesn’t quite seem to provide a lasting improvement. For these individuals, the treatment may work for only a short period of time.

Do I Have Depression?

Only a clinically licensed professional can determine if you have an official diagnosis of depression. However, there are official screeners that have been developed so that either an individual or their clinical provider can gain insight into the potential for a diagnosis of depression.

Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9)

The PHQ-9 screener can not only determine if depression is present, but is also a valid tool in determining the severity of depression based on scoring of the answers to questions. There are 9 questions in which an individual is instructed to answer honestly based on their own perception. There are 3 potential answers to each question, all a number with a corresponding answer, as follows:

0 = Not at all

1 = Several days

2 = More than half the days

3 = Nearly every day

The number to each answer is added up and totaled as the PHQ-9 score. The higher the score, the more likely depression is present — including a measurement of severity.

After the score, there is a 10th question asking how difficult these have made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home, or get along with other people.

Here is an example of the PHQ-9 below:


Major Depression Screening

Get Help with Depression Today

If you have been dealing with depression for quite some time and previous treatments have been unsuccessful, don’t keep living needlessly with the pain, frustration, and helplessness that treatment-resistant depression brings into so many lives. Contact Millennium today for a full evaluation with one of our clinical providers. 

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