The FDA approved a new ketamine depression drug — here’s what’s next

For years, ketamine clinics across the country have offered intravenous infusions as a fast-acting treatment for severe depression. But last week, the US Food and Drug Administration approved a version of ketamine, called esketamine, to do the same thing — so what’s the difference and what will this mean for newly interested patients?

Ketamine, sometimes known as the party drug Special K, is a compound made of two mirror-image molecules. It has long been approved as an anesthetic, isn’t covered by a patent, and is widely used — meaning it’s not going to make much money for a pharmaceutical company. So, Janssen patented the left part of the molecule, esketamine, and sent it through the FDA approval system as a potential cash cow called…

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Author: Angela Chen

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