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February 12, 2019

A ketamine-like drug is inching toward FDA approval to treat severe depression

Esketamine, a fast-acting severe depression treatment, made strides toward approval on Tuesday

Depression Health News
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A new depression medication inching toward Food and Drug Administration approval would be the first new treatment option for depression in 35 years.

Inspired by ketamine, a Schedule III dissociative anesthetic, Esketamine is a nasal spray designed to treat severe forms of depression that haven't responded to past treatments, Business Insider reports. 

While Esketamine, which is formulated by Johnson & Johnson, is nearly identical, chemically, to ketamine, it is believed to have fewer side effects than the original compound, Business Insider explains. 

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According to Med Page Today, unlike other antidepressants, Esketamine will work very quickly — hours to days, compared to several weeks for standard agents such as "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors," the current gold standard in depression treatments. 

Some experts say they are concerned about negative side effects of the drugs.

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