Ketamine-like drug for depression could get UK licence within the year - (The Guardian via NewsPoints Desk)

  • The ketamine-like drug esketamine could be licensed in the UK as soon as November for the treatment of depression, reported The Guardian.

  • The therapy, which is administered via a nasal spray, would be one of the first rapid-acting drugs for depression and the first drug in decades to target a new brain pathway, according to the news source.

  • If approved, esketamine would become available through private clinics. Meanwhile, NICE is scheduled to make a decision as to whether to approve the drug for NHS use in March next year.

  • Johnson & Johnson sells the treatment in the US under the brand name Spravato. Earlier this year, the FDA licensed the drug to treat resistant depression. 

  • However, the news source said trial results have been mixed and mostly short-term, and some argue that the drug is not worth the $32,400 per patient per year that is charged for it in the US.

  • Still, Allan Young, director of the Centre for Affective Disorders at King's College London, said that for the substantial portion of patients who do not respond to conventional drugs, ketamine-based therapies could offer new hope.

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