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DoD follows VA’s lead, approves controversial ketamine-based antidepressant
The Department of Defense will begin offering Spravato, a ketamine-based antidepressant, to Tricare beneficiaries, a Defense Health Agency release announced Friday.
The drug, administered in the form of a nasal spray, was approved for prescription by the Department of Veterans Affairs last June — despite controversy.
Spravato is the brand name of esketamine, a derivative of ketamine, which has been used as a recreational drug and also to treat depression in some instances — largely in patients who have not responded to alternative treatments. The drug is said to be so fast-acting the results can be felt in fewer than 24 hours. But academics and health care professionals also say its effects are not fully understood and side effects — including possible suicidal ideation — have been ignored.
After six months of usage in the veteran community, VA has said the drug is successful.
“The rollout of the drug has been successful due to VA’s implementation plan,” VA spokesman Mike Richman told Connecting Vets in January, which included monitoring veterans on the drug for safety and launching the medication at sites that had previous experience using ketamine treatment for mental health concerns.
Now, Spravato will be available to prior-authorized Tricare patients with treatment-resistant depression.
Last year, President Donald Trump touted the effectiveness of Spravato — much like he’s touting hydroxychloroquine as a COVID-19 cure now. Johnson & Johnson, the subsidiary that produces Spravato, worked with members of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club to sway VA on approving the drug.
Sourced by connectingvets.radio.com