Starting in September, the Canadian Rapid Treatment Centre of Excellence (CRTCE), located in Mississauga, will begin offering esketamine treatment to adults with major depressive disorder (MDD).
The CRTCE began operating in late 2018 and soon became the first clinic in the country to offer ketamine treatment. While they share a similar molecular profile, esketamine is believed to be stronger than ketamine, and could possibly be more effective at treating depression.
“This novel treatment works relatively faster than most conventional treatments for depression,” said Dr. Roger McIntyre, the CEO of Champignon Brands Inc., the company behind the venture, in a press release.
“Esketamine has also been observed to help people with MDD when conventional treatments have been insufficient. This provides hope for people affected by MDD to have their symptoms improved and begin to function better again in their lives.”
In March 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an esketamine nasal spray, Spravato, for adults with treatment-resistant depression.
“There has been a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition,” the FDA said at the time. Earlier this year, Health Canada approved esketamine treatment for MDD.
“The availability of esketamine at the CRTCE provides tremendous opportunity for adults across Canada affected by treatment-resistant depression to receive an effective, well-tolerated treatment,” said Dr. McIntyre, who is also a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Toronto.
In March, Field Trip Health Inc., opened a clinic in downtown Toronto devoted to psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy. Ketamine treatment was the first therapy they offered.
Dr. Michael Verbora, the medical director for Field Trip, previously told The GrowthOp that ketamine is a safe, dissociative drug that works the same way other psychedelics do, by taking consumers out of their “default mode network.”
“We have 99 per cent of the same thoughts every day,” Verbora said. “Your brain, after age 10 or 11, gets stuck in this circuit, it forms a lot of biases and beliefs about the world. These psychedelics disrupt this pattern of thinking. You wake up the next day and you’re kind of looking at things from a different perspective and questioning a lot of your assumptions. That can be extremely therapeutic because a lot of our assumptions are self-sabotaging and harmful to our health.”
Despite the promise shown by these types of therapies, they are not yet covered under provincial health insurance plans, though advocates are working on changing that.
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