ROCKVILLE, MD – If approved for treatment-resistant depression, intranasal esketamine will be strictly regulated in the clinic, with federal monitoring requirements designed to prevent misuse, abuse, or diversion of the drug.
Managed under a Food and Drug Administration Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (), such a program would establish a stringent post-administration protocol of observation and blood pressure monitoring and require every provider – whether a large health care center or a single clinician – to obtain federal certification to dispense the medication.
At a joint meeting of FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory committees, some members offered a more tempered view while still supporting the approval pathway of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist. By a vote of 14-2, with one abstention, they agreed Feb. 12 that the benefits outweigh the risks of esketamine for treatment-resistant depression.
“I think it has the potential to be a game changer in treatment-resistant depression,” said
Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is developing the drug, incorporated concerns about misuse from the beginning. Even the delivery device is designed to prevent such issues, a company spokesman said.