Johnson & Johnson's Spravato, a nasal spray has been approved as the first antidepressant for actively suicidal people, as doctors are becoming increasingly concerned about COVID-19's effect on the mental health of Americans, a report in NDTV said.
Michelle Kramer, vice president of J&J's US neuroscience medical-affairs unit said, the Food and Drug Administration approval means the quick-acting nasal spray will be available to people with suicidal thoughts and a plan to put them into action. Michelle Kramer, vice president of J&J's U.S. neuroscience medical-affairs unit.
Reportedly in America 11% to 12% of as many as 17 million people who have major depressive order.
America has been in the agony of a suicide crisis even before the pandemic, with the rate rising 30% from 1999 to 2016.
Spravato has been used by about 6,000 people for treatment-resistant depression since its approval in March 2019, Kramer added.
According to the study, Johnson & Johnson found those who got the drug had a rapid reduction in the severity of their thinking, although the results didn't differ in a statistically significant way from patients given a placebo.
NDTV quoted Gerard Sanacora, director of Yale's Depression Research Program as saying, the drug shows it "may offer clinicians a new way to provide support to patients quickly in the midst of an urgent depressive episode and help set them on the path to remission.
Relatively rapidly within a few weeks we saw the numbers stabilize, which was pretty interesting for us and validating in the sense that clinic and patients alike were continuing to make this available," Kramer said.
We certainly see more and more sites sign on and more and more patients are treated, he added.
Scientists have been working to better understand how the drug helps patients and why it works so quickly.