For people who are struggling with the effects of depression, finding relief from their symptoms can be a long journey. From a range of antidepressant medications to counseling or therapy, there are many different treatment options available to help people to overcome their depression. But what about the 10 to 15 percent of people who find that traditional antidepressants do not help their symptoms at all? These people are often diagnosed with what is called treatment-resistant depression, or TRD. This type of depression can be more difficult to treat effectively. Luckily, a new treatment option has become available to help people with TRD: Spravato.
What Is Treatment-Resistant Depression?
Unlike most other conditions, treatment-resistant depression does not have one standard definition. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers TRD to be when a person has tried two or more appropriate antidepressants during the same major depressive episode without significant reduction of symptoms. Some other sources consider at least one failed antidepressant to be enough to consider TRD as a diagnosis.
If you are not sure if you could have treatment-resistant depression, some of the biggest signs can include:
- A lack of relief from one or more antidepressant medications
- An inability to tolerate antidepressants due to serious side effects
- Severe symptoms of depression, such as hopelessness, extreme mood swings, isolating yourself from friends or family members, and suicidal thinking.
- Worsening depression symptoms during or after failed antidepressant treatment
What is Spravato?
Spravato is a novel mechanism of action to treat depression as it does not act on monoamines such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Spravato has the capability of working incredibly fast and some patients identify results in 1-2 treatments. This medication can induce a dream-like state during which patients are often able to observe their symptoms from a new perspective which helps to deal with them.
How is Spravato Taken?
Spravato is not taken as a daily pill like most other antidepressant treatment methods. Instead, Spravato treatment is administered as a nasal spray. It must be prescribed and dosed at an approved treatment center such as Wave Treatment Centers under the supervision of a medical provider. Patients give themselves the nasal spray, and are monitored by a medical professional for about 2 hours after dosing. For the first month, patients will be required to follow this dosing procedure twice a week. For subsequent months, only one dose every one to two weeks will be required. Most patients will take Spravato treatment in steps (researched treatment algorithms) until they find relief.
As with all medications, Spravato does carry some risk of side effects. Most of these side effects are temporary, and typically go away within 24-48 hours. It is required, however, that you have someone else drive you to and from your treatments, as some of the side effects may make driving unsafe. The most common side effects experienced by Spravato users include:
- Euphoria, or a feeling of being “high”
- Increased blood pressure
- Stomach ache, nausea, or diarrhea
For those struggling with the effects of treatment-resistant depression, the benefits often far outweigh the risks. Be sure to discuss this with your Spravato-approved physician before treatment.
When someone is experiencing symptoms of depression, they typically go through the treatment options in steps until they find relief. The beginning treatments are mild, and get more robust with each step. Traditional depression treatment steps typically look like the following:
- Talk Therapy – The first step for many people with depression is therapy. With many different types available, it can be highly customizable to suit your needs.
- Antidepressants – Our medical staff will carefully identify and evaluate your symptoms to prescribe from among 5 different classes of antidepressants.
- Adjunctive Treatments – This is when a doctor prescribes additional medications to try and boost the effectiveness of your antidepressants. The most common are mood stabilizers, anti anxiety medications, and lithium.
- Second Generation Antipsychotics (SGA) – SGAs can be administered on their own or as an adjunctive antidepressant treatment. Their name is confusing as they are frequently prescribed for non-psychotic symptoms.
- Spravato (esketamine) – While Spravato is a more intense depression treatment than some other options, it has big advantages over more advanced methods. It is less invasive, has a lesser risk of serious side effects, and appointments take up less of the patient’s time.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) – TMS involves using non-invasive magnetic pulses to stimulate areas of your brain that depression has altered or shut down. It usually is only used after 3 or more traditional depression treatments have failed. TMS does not require medication and patients are completely awake during treatment and continue about their day immediately after treatment.
Treatment-resistant depression is not just difficult to deal with, it can also be difficult to treat. With the help of newer treatment options like Spravato and TMS, many people are finding relief. This not only helps them to live happier, healthier lives, it also greatly reduces the risk of death by suicide. If you are interested in finding out if Spravato or TMS can help you with your Treatment-Resistant Depression, contact us today. We can discuss your individual symptoms and needs to decide if Spravato may be right for you.
Treatment-resistant depression is not just difficult to deal with, it can also be difficult to treat. With the help of newer treatment options like Spravato and TMS, many people are finding relief. This not only helps them to live happier, healthier lives, it also greatly reduces the risk of death by suicide. If you are interested in finding out if Spravato or TMS can help you with your Treatment-Resistant Depression, learn more about Wave Treatment Centers. We can discuss your individual symptoms and needs to decide if Spravato may be right for you.