Spravato (Esketamine) is a new medication that has been shown to be effective in treating depression. If you are interested in Spravato, you will need to talk to your doctor about whether it is right for you. Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about getting a Spravato prescription before talking with your psychiatrist.
Who Is Eligible for Spravato?
Spravato is only approved for use in adults who have failed to respond to other forms of treatment. This means that you must have tried at least two other medications, or one medication and another form of treatment, such as talk therapy, and not had any improvement.
Your doctor will also consider whether you have certain risk factors that make you more likely to benefit from Spravato. These include having had previous suicidal thoughts or attempts, a family history of suicide, or a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
Where Can I Get a Spravato Prescription?
Unfortunately, Spravato is not available at all pharmacies. The FDA has instituted a restricted distribution system for Spravato in order to mitigate the risks of sedation, dissociation, and misuse.
This means that, in order to receive Spravato, you must go through a special program with an authorized physician. This is necessary to ensure that patients are aware of the risks associated with the drug and can properly manage them. There are a limited number of esketamine-certified treatment centers in the United States, so you may have to travel some distance to get to one.
Your doctor will need to send a request to the treatment center for you to be evaluated for Spravato. The evaluation will include a physical exam and a psychiatric assessment. If you are approved for treatment, you will be given a prescription for Spravato.
How Does Spravato Work?
Unlike other medications for depression, esketamine focuses on the brain chemical glutamate. This difference is important because glutamate is associated with memory and learning, and also creates excitement in the brain. Other antidepressants focus on serotonin, dopamine, and/or norepinephrine which tend to result in temporary elevations in mood rather than long-term depression relief.
Spravato is not a cure for depression, but it can help to reduce your symptoms. It is usually taken along with another antidepressant medication.
What Are the Side Effects of Spravato?
The most common side effects of Spravato are dizziness, headache, nausea, and sleepiness. These usually go away after a few days as your body adjusts to the medication but you will still need to adhere to a 24-hour supervision period following each dose.
Spravato can also cause dissociation, which is when you feel disconnected from your body or surroundings. This can include feeling out of control, feeling like you are floating, or feeling like you are in a dream. These effects usually go away after the medication wears off but can make it hard to drive or operate machinery. For this reason, you will need to have someone drive you home after your first dose of Spravato and after each dose for at least 24 hours.
Is Spravato Right for Me?
If you are struggling with depression and have not had success with other treatments, Spravato may be an option for you. Talk to your doctor about whether Spravato is right for you and whether there is a certified treatment center near you.
BestMind Behavioral Health can help
If you’re considering Spravato treatments for Treatment-Resistant Depression, we encourage you to reach out to BestMind Behavioral Health. We offer a variety of appointment options, including in-person and telehealth, and we accept a variety of insurance plans. We have a team of licensed psychiatrists, certified physician assistants, and advanced registered nurse practitioners who are dedicated to providing the best care for your state of mind.