(BPT) - For years before her diagnosis, Nicole thought her daily routine was normal. Habits like sleeping for 18 hours a day, missing school and struggling to maintain friendships just seemed like hallmarks of an “angsty” personality, as many in her life had labeled her. “It wasn’t until my mom became worried about me and started taking me to doctors and psychiatrists that I began to realize I wasn’t actually totally fine,” she said.
After seeking help, Nicole learned that for years, she was actually fighting an invisible illness – a type of depression called major depressive disorder (MDD). Impacting nearly 17 million adults in the U.S., MDD is a serious, biologically based disease that has a major impact on the way people think, feel, and act.1
Nicole’s diagnosis marked the beginning of her lengthy journey to finding a treatment that worked for her. “After trying a long list of antidepressants that did not work, when I was around 20, I checked myself into an in-patient psychiatric facility because I wanted to live a full, healthy life,” she said. “It was the only way I knew how to keep fighting. I wanted the numbness to stop and knew I needed help figuring out how to cope.”
During her stay, Nicole was diagnosed with a form of MDD called treatment-resistant depression (TRD) – a term that finally validated her experience cycling through multiple treatments without relief. Approximately one-third of adult patients may have TRD which has been defined by some as MDD symptoms that have not adequately improved after taking at least two different antidepressants of adequate dose and duration in the current depressive episode.2,3
After her TRD diagnosis, Nicole found a psychiatrist that she trusted and began seeing him regularly. This led her to the next phase of her journey, where she learned about a different medication that was then in clinical trials, called SPRAVATO® (esketamine) CIII nasal spray. Nicole and her psychiatrist discussed the medication’s benefits and risks, including the most serious side effects including sedation, dissociation, the risk of abuse and misuse and increased risk of suicidal thoughts or actions. They also discussed the most common side effects of SPRAVATO® (please see below for a list of all side effects of SPRAVATO®). Nicole told her doctor she would let him know right away if she had new or sudden changes in how she was thinking, feeling or behaving. As part of the SPRAVATO® REMS program, Nicole was enrolled in the SPRAVATO® Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program to keep track of any serious side effects she may experience.
Along with taking her daily oral antidepressant, Nicole self-administers SPRAVATO® once every week at her local certified treatment center under the direct supervision of a healthcare practitioner after she completed the twice-weekly induction phase, which lasted 4 weeks. After using the spray, she’d listen to music or catch up on reading for at least two hours while a doctor or nurse monitored her for side effects like increased blood pressure, among other potential side effects. She experienced a funny taste in the back of her mouth, and also saw distorted colors following treatment. After treatment, Nicole’s mom would take her home since she couldn’t drive, operate machinery or do anything where she needed to be alert until the next day – after a good night’s sleep.
While the medicine may not work for everyone and side effects may vary, it did help Nicole treat her TRD. “I know there will always be good days and not-so-good days, but I’m grateful to finally be in a better place and have a treatment plan that works for me,” said Nicole.
If you believe you or someone you know may have TRD, it’s important to remember you are not alone, and there are treatment options that can help. Nicole advises others who may be struggling: “Connect with friends and family for support and openly communicate with your psychiatrist. There will be difficult days, but for me, those have shaped me into the person I am today – I am a warrior. My life now is bigger than the challenges I’ve overcome, and I finally have hope.”
What is SPRAVATO® (esketamine) CIII nasal spray?
SPRAVATO® is a prescription medicine, used along with an antidepressant taken by mouth to treat:
SPRAVATO® is not for use as a medicine to prevent or relieve pain (anesthetic). It is not known if SPRAVATO® is safe or effective as an anesthetic medicine.
It is not known if SPRAVATO® is safe and effective for use in preventing suicide or in reducing suicidal thoughts or actions. SPRAVATO® is not for use in place of hospitalization if your healthcare provider determines that hospitalization is needed, even if improvement is experienced after the first dose of SPRAVATO®.
It is not known if SPRAVATO® is safe and effective in children.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
What is the most important information I should know about SPRAVATO®?
SPRAVATO® can cause serious side effects, including:
Do not take SPRAVATO® if you:
If you are not sure if you have any of the above conditions, talk to your healthcare provider before taking SPRAVATO®.
Before you take SPRAVATO®, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines that you take, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Taking SPRAVATO® with certain medicine may cause side effects.
Especially tell your healthcare provider if you take central nervous system (CNS) depressants, psychostimulants, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) medicines. Keep a list of them to show to your healthcare provider and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.
How will I take SPRAVATO®?
What should I avoid while taking SPRAVATO®?
Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything where you need to be completely alert after taking SPRAVATO®. Do not take part in these activities until the next day following a restful sleep. See “What is the most important information I should know about SPRAVATO®?”
What are the possible side effects of SPRAVATO®?
SPRAVATO® may cause serious side effects including:
The most common side effects of SPRAVATO® when used along with an antidepressant taken by mouth include:
If these common side effects occur, they usually happen right after taking SPRAVATO® and go away the same day.
These are not all the possible side effects of SPRAVATO®.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed WARNINGS, and Medication Guide for SPRAVATO® and discuss any questions you may have with your healthcare provider.
Nicole is a volunteer with the SHARE Network, a Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., program, made up of people who are dedicated to inspiring others through their personal health journeys and stories of caring.
If a Janssen treatment has made a difference in your life or the life of a loved one, we hope you will consider joining the SHARE Network.
Every story is unique. If you are an adult living with TRD, talk to your doctor to figure out a treatment plan that’s right for you.
This information is intended for the use of patients and caregivers in the United States and its territories only. Laws, regulatory requirements and medical practices for pharmaceutical products vary from country to country. The Prescribing Information included here may not be appropriate for use outside the United States and its territories.
© Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. 2021 February 2021 cp-201355v1
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