J&J Releases First Modern Anti-Depressant in Decades; Gets FDA’s Approval

Johnson & Johnson gets FDA approval for anti-depressant spray

Johnson & Johnson has received the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval for its modern-day anti-depressant nasal spray. The spray has been approved as an alternative for people resistant to other types of treatments. However, at the same time, the FDA has also imposed regulations on the use of the drug, fearing its misuse or abuse.

Spravato is the brand name under which Esketamine is expected to go on sale. The nasal spray is a mirror image of the chemical ‘anesthetic ketamine’, popular as a recreational party drug, which is known locally as the “Special K”. Therefore, the department of food and drug has limited the use of the drug to the doctor’s office or at a medical centre / facility, under the supervision of a trained staff. The drug cannot be taken home for unsupervised use.

The global head of Janssen Research & Development of J&J, Mathai Mammen, said, “Spravato has the potential to change the treatment paradigm and offer new hope to the estimated one-third of people with major depressive disorder who have not responded to existing therapies.”

The anti-depressants available at present of the likes of Eli Lilly and Co’s Prozac impact the neurotransmitters – serotonin and norepinephrine. However, it usually takes about 3-4 weeks for a drug to show its final impact on a patient. In the cases of certain patients, the drugs are also unable to produce the required amount response, like for say, about 30-40 percent being treated for MDD or major depressive disorder.

The FDA’s approval came in February, after its advisory panel voted in favour of the drug, arguing that esketamine’s advantages dominated its disadvantages.

The approval of J&J’s modern-day anti-depressant nasal spray marks the first advanced treatment innovated for fighting depression in decades. Esketamine is especially praised for its comparatively faster abilities proven in treating even patients who are otherwise unapproachable.


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