About 30% of patients diagnosed with depression will not respond fully to treatment and may continue to suffer from symptoms despite several attempts with medication and/or therapy. This category of patients is considered Treatment-Resistant and offered a more complex medication combination, ECT and for the past few years, a new treatment called Esketamine.
Esketamine is a byproduct of the Ketamine molecule, a known anesthetic agent used for decades by doctors and veterinarians for operative procedures in humans and animals. Extensive research has established that this medication can have a significant and relatively fast impact on depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts leading to it being approved in 2019 by the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. Esketamine (Spravato) is now being prescribed in clinics in the US, Europe, and many countries including the UAE. It comes as a nasal spray that is self-administered by patients. This is different from Intravenous (IV) Ketamine that is also used in some centers.
Our doctors and nurses at the Psychiatry and Behavioral Health Department at American Hospital Dubai are trained and experienced at the use of Esketamine. As this medication does not suit everyone and is not guaranteed to always produce a positive result a prior assessment with one of our psychiatrists is mandatory. During this consultation, they will review your medical and psychiatric history and discuss all the logistical and therapeutic matters so that you are able to make an informed choice on whether to go ahead with a course of Esketamine.
Once you have seen one of the doctors and a decision has been taken that Esketamine is the right treatment for you, a nurse will arrange for you to come at a pre-agreed timing to start the treatment. You will be given instructions on what to do in advance and how to prepare for the visit. On arrival, you will be checked physically and guided to a private area where you will self-administer the nasal spray under supervision. The procedure takes approximately 10-15 minutes but you will then need to stay in a relaxing environment in our department for at least one hour. After a final physical checkup, you will be allowed to leave. You should expect to attend 3 times in the initial week than at a reduced frequency as the treatment advances. Do not stop your other medication unless instructed by your doctor. Generally, you can carry on with your normal daily living between sessions.
For more information on treatment with Esketamine treatment, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our mental care specialists by filling out our secure online form.