The US Department of Veterans Affairs has approved a derivative of ketamine – more commonly known as an anesthetic – for the potential treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The approved medication is known as Spravato, which is a brand name of esketamine, which itself is a molecular variation of ketamine. The VA has announced that doctors within the department have now been given the authority to prescribe Spravato to former service personnel who are struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide, and who are failing to respond to other, more traditional forms of treatment.
The VA is Always Looking for New Forms of Veteran Care, Says Secretary
“[This shows our] commitment to seek new ways to provide the best health care available for our nations’ veterans,” said Robert Wilkie, secretary of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. “We’re pleased to be able to expand options for veterans with depression who have not responded to other treatments.”
This new treatment will only be made available to veterans who have undergone a detailed assessment by a VA-approved physician. Veterans will only be put forward for the assessment and potential treatment if they have attempted to combat their depression by using at least two different forms of antidepressants without success.
Many people have applauded this move, as ketamine has – through extensive clinical trials – been shown to be a highly effective treatment for depression and has the ability to relieve sensations of depression including suicidal thoughts in a matter of hours or days, and not the weeks it takes to recover when using traditional treatments for depression.
Ketamine Can Only Be Administered Under Strict Medical Supervision
Spravato is administered using a nasal spray. A veteran who has been prescribed the treatment would inhale the spray at an approved medical facility, all done under the strict supervision of a medical provider. The veteran would also then be monitored for a minimum period of two hours.
The treatment period would involve two doses per week for the first month of the ketamine program, followed by a single dose each week or every two weeks on a case-by-case basis. Legally, Spravato cannot be prescribed for self-administration.
If you’d like to learn more about ketamine, and how this medication can be used to treat depression or chronic pain, then please reach out to us here at the Ketamine Institute of Michigan. We can be reached via phone at (855) 538-2646 or you can email us through our online contact form.