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Houston based depression psychiatrist, Dr. Sandhya Prashad, M.D., tells how this new drug might save lives and cost less than expected

HOUSTON, March 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- "New FDA approved depression treatment, esketamine, is the biggest advancement in depression treatment in thirty years" – says Houston based Psychiatrist, Dr. Sandhya Prashad. This approval allows ketamine treatments to be more widely available and will likely be covered by various insurance providers for patients who have failed previous treatments.

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and an estimated 16.2 million adults in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode. According to a survey conducted from 2011 to 2014 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one (1) in eight (8) Americans age 12 and older are reported to have used antidepressants within the past month.

Ketamine has been hailed as the most important advancement in the treatment of depression in the past 50 years. Ketamine works on the NMDA receptor and modulates glutamate instead of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine like traditional antidepressants. It is thought to help restore nerve synaptic connections in brain cells in people with major depressive disorder. It also works faster than other antidepressants. Patients often report symptom improvement in days instead of weeks. Suicidality also often improves rapidly.

Other psychiatrists in Dr. Prashad's network have been sighted to confirm the drugs' effectiveness and long-term results as per this weeks interview from the TODAY show: esketamine nasal spray discussed on the Today show.

Today, Johnson & Johnson's nasal form of Ketamine, esketamine, which will be marketed under the name Spravato, was FDA approved. The long-term safety study showed that esketamine was generally tolerable, with no new safety signals with dosing up to 52 weeks. Discontinuation rates due to esketamine-related adverse events were low.

Traditional, conventional antidepressant drug treatments have a therapeutic lag of 3–4 weeks, and about a third of patients do not respond. At this time, ketamine has been available as an off-label treatment for depression and is not covered by insurance. Given the fact that ongoing treatment is required, it can become rather costly, and this has greatly affected its accessibility for patients. Johnson and Johnson has been developing a nasal version of ketamine called esketamine (Spravato) for treatment resistant depression. With FDA approval, insurance companies will begin to cover costs of the medication and make the treatment more widely accessible. The drug would be the first novel therapeutic for depression in 35 years.

"We've always prided ourselves in offering the most advanced treatments to our patients," Dr. Prashad said. "Insurance coverage of esketamine will allow this life-saving treatment to be accessible to patients that need it. With one-third of those suffering from depression unable to respond to antidepressant medications, being able to provide relief to patients that are otherwise treatment resistant is a great opportunity."

Dr. Sandhya Prashad, board certified Psychiatrist based in Houston, has specialized in treatment resistant depression and has been using ketamine in her practice since 2016. A graduate of Baylor College of Medicine for both Medical School and Psychiatry Residency, she has presented on the national level at conferences regarding the use of ketamine. She is a founding member and the secretary of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians (www.ASKP.org) which is a non-profit organization created to advocate for the safe use of ketamine for mental illness and pain disorders and to expand access to ketamine therapy. Dr. Prashad was also named one of Houston's Top Doctors by H Texas Magazine for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Patients may learn more about the treatment and the practice by calling 832-436-4055 or visiting www.houstonketaminetherapy.com

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SOURCE Dr. Sandhya Prashad