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Anvisa authorizes first inhalable drug to treat severe depression

With almost immediate action to treat patients, the drug was developed in a hospital of the Ebserh Network, linked to the Ministry of Education


Anvisa authorizes first inhalable drug to treat severe depression
The medication was developed by the Psychiatric Service of the Professor Edgard Santos University Hospital Complex at UFBA - Photo: UFBA

Nov 14, Brasilia: Medicine in the form of a nasal spray and with an almost immediate action to treat patients with severe depression developed by the Psychiatric Service of the University Hospital Complex Professor Edgard Santos of the Federal University of Bahia (Hupes / UFBA), linked to the Brazilian Hospital Services Company Network (Ebserh), was authorized by the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).


The drug is sponsored by Janssen, a pharmaceutical company from Johnson & Johnson.



The remedy (Spravato) is based on the molecule scetamine. The active ingredient is related to ketamine, a medication used in high doses in anesthesia. The Hupes Psychiatric Service, for almost a decade, has been conducting research with ketamine and derivatives. The centre played a prominent role in research that resulted in the approval of intranasal escetamine by regulatory agencies in Brazil, the USA and Europe.


The international scientific community recognizes ketamine and derivatives as one of the biggest mental health revolutions in recent decades. Several ramifications of the research conducted at Hupe's concern the attempt to find forms of ketamine that are affordable and with better tolerability for the patient.



In addition to benefiting hundreds of patients, the results found so far by the research group coordinated by the psychiatrist and professor at UFBA, Lucas Quarantini, have been presented at national, international conferences and specialized magazines.


Quarantini points out that the drug so far is only indicated for patients with severe depression and who have either failed previous treatments or are at risk of suicide. “This medication also filled the gap that existed because no antidepressants started to work in less than 15 days, after reaching the minimum therapeutic dose. With ketamine and derivatives, a new class of drugs was inaugurated: that of fast-acting antidepressants ”, explains the psychiatrist.


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