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Spravato praised as effective treatment for depression

Spravato praised as effective treatment for depression
Spravato praised as effective treatment for depression 02:37

MIAMI - In 2019 the Food and Drug Administration approved the first new drug for treating depression in decades.

The drug called Spravato fell under the radar because of the pandemic, but now, Spravato is at the forefront of therapies and is being praised for its effectiveness. 

The drug is often recommended for patients who can't get relief from traditional anti-depressant pills. 

Michelle Luchau says she is getting relief from feeling depressed by using Spravato. 

"It brought the hope back," she says. 

Spravato is a self-administered nasal spray that is covered by insurance. 

Dr. Padam Bhatia, a Miami psychiatrist who founded Elevate Psychiatry, offered Spravato as a treatment for Luchau. 

"Spravato or s ketamine is the only FDA-approved treatment for depression and suicidal thoughts or actions," he says.

Spravato is a ketamine derivative. It's different from ketamine infusions. The low-dose hallucinogenic spray is helping some people cope with depression and anxiety. 

Unlike traditional anti-depressants, which act on serotonin levels - serotonin acts as a switch for your nervous system, Spravato acts on glutamate which regulates feelings of happiness and sadness. 

Spravato is initially given twice a week for four weeks then scaled back. 

"You start feeling sedated. I was nauseous the first time, then I fell asleep," explained Luchau.

Now awake to the life-altering benefits of Spravato, Luchau who is getting her masters in mental health counseling, says she can function normally. 

"It used to feel like climbing Mt. Everest. Now, tasks are manageable and you build mastery. You can lead a normal life."

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