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28 Jan 2020

Esketamine not recommended by NICE

An esketamine nasal spray may not be made available on the NHS for patients with treatment resistant depression because of uncertainties over its clinical and cost effectiveness, says draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of SANE, comments:

“People with depression are currently relying on medications that are 30 years old. Although these drugs can be life-saving for some people, they can have unpleasant side-effects and do not work for everyone.

“It is therefore deeply disappointing that the first new compound that works in a fundamentally different way on the brain should not have passed this hurdle.

“This is especially so because people can take as much as six to eight weeks to feel the full effects of most antidepressants, whereas esketamine effectiveness can be judged in 24 hours, potentially saving patients weeks or months of uncertainty.

“We hope this setback will serve only to inspire pharmaceutical companies, researchers and others to discover new ways of treating serious depression.”

Nasal spray medicine for treatment-resistant depression not recommended by NICE – NICE


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