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Ketamine Therapy

5 Benefits of Esketamine Nasal Spray for Anxiety

9 min read

Esketamine Nasal Spray for Anxiety

When you think of antidepressants, what comes to mind? Small pills? Uncomfortable side effects? Hopefully, relief from the symptoms they are intended to treat? Recent research, studies, and trials have started to create a different vision of antidepressants. With innovative treatments now available, we can begin to reimagine how antidepressants function and provide relief to those struggling with their symptoms. One such groundbreaking treatment is esketamine nasal spray.

What is Esketamine Nasal Spray?

Esketamine is derived from the anesthetic ketamine, which has a long history of being used to treat depression. In 2019, esketamine nasal spray (branded as “Spravato”) received FDA approval for treatment-resistant depression in adults. Additionally, it was the first FDA-approved psychiatric drug for major depressive disorder (MDD) with acute suicidal ideation in adults.

What Does Esketamine Treat?

Although esketamine is primarily FDA-approved for adult treatment-resistant depression and MDD with acute suicidal ideation, it shows promise in helping other mental health conditions. Many individuals who receive esketamine for their depression also experience benefits for conditions such as OCD, anxiety, or eating disorders. Esketamine nasal spray for anxiety, in particular, is emerging as a potential treatment option for those who haven’t found relief with traditional medications.

Again, esketamine is only approved for depression. However, it is possible that you may experience relief in other areas of your mental health when undergoing esketamine treatments.

How Does Esketamine Work?

Esketamine treats depression differently than traditional antidepressants. While typical antidepressants target neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, esketamine uniquely targets the glutamate system. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.

In the dosage used to treat depression, esketamine binds to inhibitory neurons in your brain. This interaction results in net excitation in the brain areas that are part of the depression circuit. While this is highly scientific, in simpler terms, esketamine targets and treats the specific brain areas responsible for depression symptoms. This unique mechanism is what makes esketamine nasal spray for anxiety and depression a promising treatment for those who have not found relief with other medications.

How Successful is Esketamine Nasal Spray for Treating Anxiety?

Studies have shown that 69% of patients experience improvement in their depression symptoms with esketamine after just eight treatments. If you’ve been trying antidepressants without relief or have experienced adverse side effects, don’t lose hope. Esketamine nasal spray for anxiety and depression might work better for your brain or body.

Are There Any Negative Side Effects of Esketamine Nasal Spray?

There are some side effects to be aware of when it comes to esketamine nasal spray. After spraying esketamine into your nasal passages, some may drip down your throat, and patients have reported that it tastes unpleasant. However, this issue can be easily remedied with a glass of water and a breath mint.

More serious short-term side effects are why esketamine nasal spray treatments are only conducted in-clinic. This medication is not available for at-home treatments. One of the more significant short-term side effects is an elevation in blood pressure. For most individuals, their blood pressure remains stable or only slightly elevated. To ensure safety, we check your blood pressure before administering the spray and at the drug’s peak during your session. We also monitor you for two hours after the treatment to ensure your safety and well-being.

After treatment, some people feel slightly disoriented. You will not be able to drive, and you may not be able to return to work or school immediately after the session.

As for long-term side effects, we unfortunately don’t have definitive data yet. Since esketamine nasal spray has only been available for three years, we lack concrete evidence on its long-term impact. However, ongoing studies aim to provide more information in the future.

5 Benefits of Esketamine Nasal Spray 

Esketamine and Depression

Esketamine nasal spray is a relatively new treatment in the world of psychiatry, and we are very excited about it. However, we understand why some people may be skeptical. Esketamine is derived from ketamine, which is known as a party drug and has negative associations within our society. Nevertheless, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the incredible benefits of esketamine nasal spray. Let’s explore these benefits, starting with its FDA approval!

1. Esketamine Nasal Spray Treats Depression and Anxiety

In 2019, esketamine nasal spray (brand name “Spravato”) became FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression in adults. It was also the first FDA-approved psychiatric drug for major depressive disorder (MDD) with acute suicidal ideation in adults.

Esketamine treats depression differently than traditional antidepressants. While typical antidepressants target neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, esketamine uniquely targets the glutamate system. Glutamate is the major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. In the dosage used to treat depression, esketamine binds to inhibitory neurons in your brain, resulting in net excitation in the areas of the brain involved in the depression circuit. (Yes, very scientific stuff!)

Ultimately, esketamine functions differently in the brain compared to other medications and antidepressants. If you’ve been trying antidepressants without relief from your symptoms or have experienced adverse side effects, esketamine nasal spray for anxiety and depression might work better for your brain or body. Research shows that 69% of patients experience improvement in their depression symptoms after just eight treatments with esketamine.

2. Esketamine Nasal Spray Helps Treat Other Mental Health Disorders

While esketamine is only FDA-approved for adult treatment-resistant depression and MDD with acute suicidal ideation, it has shown potential in helping with other mental health conditions. Many individuals who receive esketamine for their depression also experience benefits for conditions like OCD, anxiety, or eating disorders. Although esketamine is officially approved only for depression, it is possible to experience relief in other areas of your mental health during esketamine treatments.

3. Esketamine Helps Your Brain to Grow and Change

Depression and other mental health conditions often lead to ingrained patterns of negative thinking over time. Esketamine activates neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to grow and change. This activation of neuroplasticity helps you become “unstuck” from negative thought patterns. By promoting brain growth and change, esketamine can help people overcome their depression. This benefit of enhancing neuroplasticity also explains why esketamine nasal spray for anxiety and other mental health conditions can be effective for some individuals.

4. Esketamine Nasal Spray Can Help Expand Your State of Consciousness

While this might sound unconventional, esketamine allows people to enter an expanded state of consciousness. It achieves this by creating a dissociative effect, which is a natural outcome of the medication. The term “dissociation” can often have negative connotations, commonly associated with a trauma response. However, in the context of esketamine, the term has a different implication.

During treatment, you may feel detached from yourself and experience sensory distortions. For example, some individuals report feeling like they are watching themselves in a video game or envisioning themselves in a field. Others may perceive one hand as larger than the other or feel as though two hours have passed in just 15 minutes. These experiences are unique to each person. This effect does not cause delusions or hallucinations but rather an expanded state of consciousness, as most people still feel very grounded in their actual surroundings. 

5. Esketamine Nasal Spray Can Help with Processing Past Events

Accessing this expanded state of consciousness through dissociation often allows individuals to tap into and experience prior memories. These memories can be positive, but they may also include negative memories that have been suppressed as a defense mechanism. When this occurs, individuals can work through and process these memories in ways they were previously unable to. This ability to process past events can be transformative and is one of the key benefits of esketamine nasal spray for anxiety and depression.

Experience the Benefits of Esketamine Nasal Spray at Marpa Minds in Westchester County

When it comes to mental health treatment, it is essential to explore all your options. If you feel that esketamine could be right for you, you can begin by filling out our intake form here. We will arrange an initial screening with a doctor trained in esketamine treatment. If esketamine is deemed appropriate for you, we’ll work with your insurance to get the necessary approvals before starting treatment. Experience the eye-opening benefits of esketamine nasal spray for yourself and take a step towards better mental health.

FAQs about Esketamine Nasal Spray for Anxiety

1. What is esketamine nasal spray, and how does it work for anxiety? 

  • Esketamine nasal spray, derived from the anesthetic ketamine, targets the glutamate system in the brain, which is different from traditional antidepressants that focus on neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. This unique mechanism can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety by promoting neuroplasticity and allowing the brain to grow and change, potentially breaking negative thought patterns.

2. Is esketamine nasal spray FDA-approved for treating anxiety? 

  • Esketamine nasal spray is currently FDA-approved for treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder (MDD) with acute suicidal ideation in adults. While it is not officially approved for anxiety, some patients have reported experiencing relief from anxiety symptoms during their treatment for depression.

3. What are the potential side effects of using esketamine nasal spray for anxiety?

  • Common side effects of esketamine nasal spray include a bad taste in the mouth as it drips down the throat, elevated blood pressure, and a temporary sense of disorientation. These treatments are conducted in-clinic to monitor patients for any adverse effects and ensure their safety.

4. Can esketamine nasal spray help with other mental health conditions besides depression and anxiety? 

  • Yes, many individuals who receive esketamine for depression also report benefits for other mental health conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders. Although esketamine is only approved for depression, its effects on the brain’s glutamate system can provide broader mental health benefits.

5. How effective is esketamine nasal spray in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression?

  •  Studies have shown that 69% of patients experience improvement in their depression symptoms after just eight treatments with esketamine nasal spray. While specific studies on anxiety are limited, the reported benefits in treating depression and the potential for alleviating anxiety symptoms make esketamine nasal spray a promising option for individuals who have not found relief with traditional treatments.

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