The Latest Research Into Spravato Therapy

As more people continue to participate in spravato therapy, scientists continue to study spravato therapy and esketamine. Here’s what you need to know about spravato therapy and the most recent research surrounding the treatment.

Spravato therapy is an innovative technique used to treat pain and severe depression. When spravato therapy was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), clinical trials and research showed that this form of treatment could help:

  • Provide quick relief for symptoms of depression
  • Combat treatment-resistant depression
  • Decrease suicidal thoughts
  • Promote healthy brain growth

As more people continue to participate in spravato therapy, scientists continue to study spravato therapy and esketamine, the primary ingredient used in the prescription medication. Here’s what you need to know about spravato therapy and the most recent research surrounding the treatment.

What Is Spravato?

Spravato is a prescription nasal spray. The spray, which is made up of the chemical esketamine, works to alleviate symptoms of treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Esketamine is made from ketamine, an anesthetic drug that has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes. Even though esketamine is derived from ketamine, it’s more potent. This means that low doses of Spravato can be effective.

When used alongside antidepressants, spravato helps treat:

  • Adults with treatment-resistant depression
  • Symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD) such as suicidal thoughts or actions

How Does Spravato Therapy Work?

Even though spravato therapy can vary based on an individual’s specific needs, the treatment generally includes 3 self-administered doses of the nasal spray, spaced 5 minutes apart. The spray, used alongside an oral antidepressant, travels through the nasal passages into the bloodstream. Esketamine works to quickly relieve symptoms of depression while the antidepressant slowly takes effect.

Not long after esketamine starts to work, side effects may occur. Esketamine can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vertigo
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Disassociation
  • Increased blood pressure

To prevent unintentional accidents and injuries, when you receive spravato therapy you must remain under medical supervision until the side effects have passed. Spravato therapy often takes place at a medical office with a health care provider who can closely monitor your health and well-being. Even though spravato is a nasal spray, this type of therapy can not be taken or administered at home. Instead, your healthcare provider will show you how to use the spravato nasal spray device, how much spravato to take, and when to take it.

What The Latest Research Says About Spravato Treatment

Research has consistently shown that spravato, also known as esketamine, can help treat major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression. Unlike traditional antidepressants which can take weeks to provide full therapeutic effects, spravato can provide relief within 2 to 24 hours. Spravato can also help reduce suicidal ideations within 24 hours of use.

“One thing almost all psychiatrists can agree on,” psychiatry researcher Adam Kaplin said, “is this: We need antidepressants that work more quickly and for more people.” Esketamine meets that need. “Unlike other antidepressants, esketamine targets dozens of brain connections at once,” he continued.

Recent research suggests that spravato therapy may also be able to help treat other mental health conditions such as:

Psychological Distress

Data from a 2020 study showed that esketamine pain therapy can help improve psychological distress caused by anxiety and depression. In the study, people with serious illnesses were given 45 minutes of esketamine infusion on a consistent basis to relieve refractory pain. The individuals given esketamine experienced significantly less anxiety despite being in palliative care. The study, though small, concluded that even a single administration of esketamine may help improve the psychological distress experienced by patients with life-threatening conditions. By helping to ease agony, esketamine can also help reduce the risk of co-occurring mental health disorders for people living with terminal illnesses.

Spravato May Be Able To Help Ease Insomnia

Other research suggests that spravato therapy may be able to help treat insomnia. Depression and sleep deprivation are closely related. In fact, an inability to sleep can be a sign of depression. Similarly, lack of sleep can play a role in depression and other mood disorders. Not getting enough sleep can also make depression worse. Recent research shows that esketamine may be able to help treat depression-related insomnia.

In a recent study, a 55-year-old woman with a long history of depression and anxiety monitored her mood, weight, and insomnia after beginning spravato therapy. When she first began spravato, her Beck Depression Inventory, or BDI, score was 38 despite taking 60 mg of fluoxetine and 120 mg of duloxetine a day. A BDI score between 31 and 40 indicates severe depression. Her Insomnia Severity Index or ISI score was 11, indicating mild insomnia.

After 3 months of spravato therapy, the woman’s BDI was 9, meaning that her ups and downs and mood changes were within a normal range. Her ISI score decreased from 11 to 7, meaning the test detected no form of clinical insomnia. She also lost 2 pounds during treatment, even though traditional antidepressants can cause weight gain. All of these changes occurred just 2 weeks after beginning spravato therapy. Although researchers continue to study the effects of spravato therapy, studies like this show that esketamine may be able to help individuals living with insomnia.

Spravato May Be Able To Help Relieve PTSD Symptoms

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. The symptoms, which can be behavioral, psychological, or mood-based, can be extremely debilitating. For example, people with PTSD may experience constant:

  • Fear
  • Panic
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Hostility
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Unwanted thoughts

They may also live with extreme guilt, emotional detachment, isolation, and self-destructive behavior. Recent research suggests that spravato therapy may be able to help relieve PTSD symptoms.

According to a 2019 study, the way ketamine and esketamine interact with the brain may be able to help lower PTSD symptoms. Esketamine works as an antagonist to the N-methyl-D-aspartate or NMDA receptor. This means that esketamine binds to the NMDA receptor and stops it from producing a response. Generally, high NMDA receptor activity increases the risk of developing PTSD. By preventing the NMDA receptor from initiating a response, esketamine may be able to help combat PTSD.

Innovative Treatments To Help You Thrive

Here at StoneRidge Centers, we know that depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other mental health conditions can affect your well-being. That’s why we combine the best brain science with compassionate care. Our innovative treatment programs such as spravato therapy can help treat conditions that negatively affect the brain. All of our treatments are overseen by a triple-board-certified medical director and licensed therapists. Let us help you overcome challenges like depression, PTSD, psychological distress, and insomnia. Contact us today if you’re ready to learn how to thrive.

Innovative, Evidence-Based Therapies

Because mental health and addiction concerns are so often interconnected, we utilize research-based approaches with evidence-based outcomes that promote overall healing and recovery.

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Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
This low-impact magnetic stimulation activates neurons inside the brain, relieving symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.

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qEEG/Brain Mapping
Using brain scanning and readings, we create a map of our patients' brains, helping us develop more targeted and effective treatments.

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Neurofeedback
This process assists patients in visualizing their own brain functionality through continuous EEG readings.

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Spravato Therapy
We use carefully monitored doses of Spravato to help patients struggling with complex mental health disorders, including severe depression.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Patients use this practice to help reframe intrusive or negative thought patterns and develop coping techniques for long-term recovery.

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This practice helps patients learn to regulate emotions, communicate more effectively, and process their own thoughts and feelings..

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Eye Movement Desensitization (EMDR)
Licensed and trained therapists guide patients through this technique for managing stress and anxiety on an ongoing basis.

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Individual Therapy
Patients experience one-on-one therapy sessions with a licensed therapist to provide a safe and private place to recover and heal.

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Group/Family Therapy
Patients can practice the skills and techniques they have learned in treatment with others in a safe, therapist-guided space. .
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