Introduction: Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) is a common and burdensome condition with poor outcomes and few treatment options. Esketamine is the S-enantiomer of ketamine and has recently been FDA approved in the United States for treating depression that has failed to respond to trials of two or more antidepressants. Areas covered: This review will briefly discuss current treatment options for TRD, then review esketamine. Relevant literature was identified through online database searches, and clinical trial data were provided by Janssen Pharmaceuticals. Pharmacology, including kinetics and dynamics, is discussed, then clinical data regarding efficacy and safety for esketamine from Phase 2-3 trials are reviewed. Expert opinion: In the expert opinion, the authors discuss multiple factors including patient, physician, and social factors that will influence the use of esketamine. While the efficacy of esketamine compared to off-label use of racemic ketamine remains unclear, both esketamine’s approval for use in TRD and longer-term safety data may position it preferentially above racemic ketamine, although factors such as cost and monitoring requirements may limit its use. While questions remain regarding duration and frequency of treatment, as well as addictive potential, esketamine is a novel treatment option offering new hope for TRD.
Swainson, J., Thomas, R. K., Archer, S., Chrenek, C., MacKay, M. A., Baker, G., … & Demas, M. L. (2019). Esketamine for treatment resistant depression. Expert review of neurotherapeutics, 1-13., https://doi.org/10.1080/14737175.2019.1640604
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