Nasal spray being trialled to treat depression

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Nasal spray being trialled to treat depression
Nasal spray being trialled to treat depression. Credit: Spravato

First-of-its-kind nasal spray being trialled to treat depression.

The nasal spray is designed to help people living with treatment-resistant depression.

A MELBOURNE medical clinic is offering a first-of-its-kind nasal spray to help people living with treatment-resistant depression in Australia.

Spravato is being used as part of a clinical trial by the Albert Road Clinic and is said to help excite the brain and has shown “tremendous promise” – marking a new era in the battle against depression and suicide, according to experts.

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The nasal spray, which has also shown promising results overseas, blocks the glutamate NMDA receptor in the brain and can produce a rapid mood-improving response that is sustained.

National Lead Investigator Professor Malcolm Hopwood, from the University of Melbourne and Albert Road Clinic, said the aim of the trial is to understand the effectiveness of Spravato on severely depressed patients and its impact on their quality of life.

“It works amending a transmitter system called glutamate that none of our treatments target,” he said.


Produced by Janssen-Cilag, Spravato recently gained Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approval for adults with treatment-resistant depression.

“Spravato is the only approved inhibitor of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor for treatment-resistant depression in Australia,” Prof Hopwood said.

“We hope for this treatment to become an additional wide stream option for cases of hard-to-treat depression.”


However, although Spravato is registered, it is not funded by the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) meaning that “it’s out of reach for many patients,” Prof Hopwood said.

“Albert Road Clinic is funding the service, which involves nurse supervision in an outpatient clinic.”

According to 9news, depression affects about a third of Australians.

In the UK, some clinics across the country are prescribing ketamine for depression.


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