The UAE’s largest healthcare network has started using the new nasal spray for the treatment and management of severe depression in adults.
Esketamine nasal spray provides relief to people who have tried other antidepressant treatments, but with little or no benefit, according to doctors from Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha).
The drug was recognized in the United Arab Emirates in 2020, after being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States and the European Medicines Agency.
Seha has launched this new therapy for patients with treatment-resistant depression.
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Esketamine targets new receptors in the brain, not those traditionally treated with antidepressant drugs. It is now administered in the psychiatric clinics of the Ambulatory Health Services; Cheikh Khalifa Medical City; and Al Ain Hospital.
“Mental health issues and their treatment differ from patient to patient, which is why we are excited to add another therapy to our services, providing us with more solutions that can be tailored to each patient.” said consultant Dr Nahida Niaz Ahmed. psychiatrist and president of the Behavioral Health Council in Seha.
Many patients who received the treatment noted that Esketamine worked.
A 30-year-old man – who had suffered from major depressive disorder for six years – was prescribed Esketamine after trying other types of drugs and even shock therapy to no avail.
A month after using the nasal spray, however, he noticed a positive impact on his outlook and lifestyle. Now he exercises daily and interacts with people. He is even motivated to find a job and provide for his family.
A 20-year-old woman, who was diagnosed with severe depression and found no benefit from previous medications, saw her condition improve with the nasal spray. His thoughts of suicide also decreased.
Another young man – who had isolated himself in his room and had stopped studying for more than three years – has returned to school and on his way to college, thanks to the new treatment.
Seha has a wide range of specialties and departments ready to treat patients with mental health issues. It offers telemedicine services and has set up mobile clinics, specialized psychiatric centers and home care.