Esketamine Clinic for Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD)

Avicenna Centre For Brain Health is the first clinic in the Fraser Valley to provide Esketamine treatment. Esketamine is shown to help and treat patients suffering from Major Depressive Disorder and suicidal thoughts.

What is Esketamine?

Esketamine, also known by the brand name of Spravato, is a new antidepressant approved by Health Canada for treatment resistant major depressive disorder.

Esketamine has potential to work quickly and is administered via a nasal spray. It is chemically related to ketamine and many patients start to improve after the first or second treatment, unlike many traditional antidepressants. It is also used to reduce and combat suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Esketamine works in between 50 to 70 percent of patients who suffer from treatment-resistant depression. Spravato™ Esketamine (Ketamine) nasal spray is also an appealing alternative for those who are afraid of needles. Spravato™ must be taken with at least one oral antidepressant medication but is faster acting than other traditional antidepressants.

Esketamine care plans vary from patient to patient. Typically, patients will receive two doses a week for the first month with spaced out dosing utilized later to avoid relapse.

Is Esketamine for You?

You may be eligible for Esketamine treatment If you have failed at least two different treatments of antidepressants. If interested, patients will first complete a psychiatric assessment (covered by MSP) which will determine their eligibility to use Esketamine. From here, we will devise your individualized treatment plan.

If you or a love one is interested in exploring this treatment, Our Health Navigator will work with you, your physician, and your mental health provider to see if Esketamine is a suitable option.

How Does Esketamine Work?

Most antidepressants work with neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) in areas of the brain that affect mood. Esketamine works on a different chemical system (glutamate) and can be taken with or without your existing treatment to create newer connections.

What Can I Expect in the Session?

Esketamine treatment is administered in a physician's office and the patient is then monitored in the office for 2 hours afterwards. This monitoring is done by an experienced health care worker under the supervision of an on-site physician who will be available if any complications arise.

Some patients may experience nausea or vomiting. Hence, it is recommended that they should avoid eating anything two hours before treatment. Additionally, it is good practice to not drink any liquids 30 minutes before treatment. Patients also cannot drive for the rest of the day after their treatment.

What are the Side Effects?

Most side effects will mainly occur during the two hours patients are being observed. These may include:

  • Dissociation (feeling disconnected from yourself, your thoughts, feelings, space, and/or time)
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Vertigo
  • Reduced sense of touch and/or sensation
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling inebriated or euphoric

It is important to note that most patients experience no side effects during the time between treatments.

What is the Cost Involved?

We are pleased to announce that many insurance providers cover their members for a significant portion of the treatment costs. Avicenna is equipped with the utmost dedicated staff who will liaise with you, Jansen (the manufacturer), and insurance providers to determine your coverage amount and total out-of-pocket cost. This is a complimentary service provided to facilitate your access to this novel treatment. We will also assist you in completing any forms you need to submit to request insurance coverage for this treatment.

Private pay option is also available for the patients who do not have extended benefits through third party.

For fees and costs involved we advise you contact us so we may connect you with a representative from Jansen Pharmaceuticals (the manufacturer) on drug costs.

Avicenna Centre For Brain Health’s administration charges for each session will be discussed if/when patients are approved for the service by Jansen Pharmaceuticals. The Psychiatry consultation required to determine your eligibility for Esketamine and any physician follow up appointments are covered by MSP.

Referral Process

For a psychiatry assessment to determine Esketamine eligibility a family physician referral is required by the physician. Ask your Family Physcian to refer you to Avicenna Centre For Brain Health with an Esketamine enquiry and a Navigator from our team will contact you shortly after receiving your referral.