Adult and Child Psychiatrist located in Lancaster, PA


When conventional treatment doesn’t improve your depression, you still have options. Esketamine therapy is an example, available through board-certified adult and child psychiatrist Sarah Gatumu, MD, of New Direction Functional Psychiatry in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When you’re ready to take a new approach, call or click to book your personalized consultation.

Esketamine Q & A

What is the drug esketamine?

Esketamine is derived from the drug ketamine, a medication developed as a sedative. Ketamine has been used for some time in treating depression. Created from the ketamine molecule, esketamine is a more potent form of the drug that delivers results with a lower dosage than ketamine. 

This medication is FDA-approved for use in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Clinicians define this condition as an inability to identify 50% or more improvement after trying at least two different medications for depression.  

Researchers believe that esketamine works by increasing glutamine levels. This chemical messenger helps relay signaling within your brain. 

How is esketamine administered?

Currently, esketamine is administered via nasal spray, similar to the medications you might take to relieve nasal congestion when you have a cold. Because the drug has a risk of side effects and abuse, it is only administered in the presence of a health practitioner. 

Once in the office, you administer the medication through a simple nasal spray device. Your practitioner then monitors your condition for a period of time after treatment to ensure you don’t encounter adverse effects. Once your practitioner determines you don’t have troubling side effects, you can move on to the rest of your day. 

What are some potential side effects of esketamine therapy?

All medications carry a risk of side effects, including esketamine. However, this form of drug therapy is believed to be a lifesaving treatment path for many people who struggle with depression. 

Not everyone who takes esketamine will notice side effects. When they are present, you might experience:

  • Disassociation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Lethargy
  • Vertigo
  • Increased blood pressure

Uncontrolled hypertension and certain vascular disorders might make you a poor candidate for esketamine. Make sure you share the full details of your health history with your practitioner. If you rely on other drugs, medication management is also important. 

In addition to esketamine therapy, your provider might recommend talk therapy, optimizing micronutrients with top-quality supplements, or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). You might also have GeneSight® pharmacogenomic testing to determine how your body will likely respond to this medication.   

When you’re ready to get started, call the office to book a visit, or schedule online in just a few clicks.