Spravato™ was approved by the FDA in 2019 as an additional therapy option for the management of treatment-resistant depression. Also known as esketamine, Spravato™ aids in the restoration of synaptic connections in the brain. Like its parent compound ketamine, this drug targets a different brain mechanism compared to traditional antidepressants making it able to provide robust and rapid relief from depression symptoms.

Because Spravato™ and ketamine are cut from the same cloth, so to speak, it is important to understand exactly how they are similar and how they differ. Here are some facts for consideration to help you understand these two treatment options and whether one may be a good choice for treating your depression.

The first step to understanding these two drugs is to look at the chemistry behind them. Ketamine is a racemic mixture which means that it is comprised of two mirror-image molecules R-ketamine and S-ketamine that exist together and spin in separate directions. If you separate the mixture, each molecule on its own is called an enantiomer. When it comes to esketamine, the developers isolated one of ketamine’s enantiomers, the S-enantiomer. They chose this particular one because they found it to be more potent and that it binds better to a certain brain receptor which is known to play a part in depression.

As for research, it is still ongoing. These drugs continue to provide rapid relief from symptoms for those who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. Scientists believe that both drugs act as NMDA receptors allowing for the restoration of proper glutamate levels in the brain. When the correct balance of neurotransmitters is established, the brain is restored to a healthier state and improvements in mood are experienced.

Now let’s take a look at these two drugs head-to-head:

The Difference Between Ketamine & Spravato™

If you are curious about Spravato™or ketamine as a treatment option, we are happy to answer any questions as well as provide a free consultation to help you get started today.

About the Author

Kim Sandberg is the owner and founder of Alleviant Health Centers of San Diego and a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist. She has two advanced degrees: a Masters of Science in Nursing as a Nurse Anesthetist and a Doctor of Nursing Practice. She has worked in a variety of settings, though the biggest impact on Kim and her work came from her 28 years of service in the Navy Reserve. By opening Alleviant Health Centers, Kim hopes to provide much-needed care for patients who struggle with mental health and chronic pain—especially to the population of veterans and servicemen who desperately need help. Moreover, she is excited to contribute to the holistic health movement by bringing integrative holistic psychiatry and other innovative treatments to the community of San Diego.

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