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Escetamine available in drug program for drug-resistant depression

MedExpress Team


Published July 11, 2023 00:15

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Since the beginning of July, treatment of drug-resistant depression with esketamine has been available in Poland under a drug program. This is the first such program in Polish psychiatry. So far, there have been no breakthroughs in the treatment of the disease, from which 1.5 million Poles suffer. The new drug is certainly such a breakthrough: it is characterized by high efficacy and a different mode of action than previously known antidepressants.

Esquetamine has been approved for use in the European Union for the treatment of depression since 2019. Until now, the monthly cost of the treatment, for which the patient would have to pay out of pocket, was 25 thousand zlotys. Given that the recommended duration of the treatment is 7-8 months, the total expense would be 175.2 thousand zlotys per person. For most patients, this is a prohibitive amount. Under the Ministry of Health's drug program, it will be possible to reimburse esketamine treatment.

- Poland is at the forefront of countries where a drug program has been established or the drug is reimbursed. We are very happy about this, because it was usually the case that in Poland modern molecules used in psychiatry were available, but they were expensive for quite a long time, and reimbursement only took place when we were already one of the last countries with lump sum availability. We are glad that there is this new molecule, and it is also worth noting that this is the first drug program in Polish psychiatry," comments Professor Piotr Galecki, national consultant in psychiatry.

Due to the specific features of the substance, the availability of treatment will be subject to numerous conditions, and patients will have to meet certain inclusion criteria. These are, first of all, a diagnosis of drug-resistant depression, i.e. the lack of positive results of drug therapy with at least two antidepressants, confirmed by a psychiatrist.

Esketamine will be administered on an outpatient basis, twice a week for the first month and once a week or once every two weeks for the remaining six months, depending on clinical indications and the doctor's decision. Esketamine is to be administered inhaled, intranasally. The drug is to be a...

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