What is the difference between ketamine and Spravato®?

Synthesized in 1962 as a short-acting anesthetic, ketamine can be prescribed by a physician as an off-label drug for a variety of mental health conditions.1 This substance, administered through IV infusions or lozenges, is known for its “dissociative” effects, which can produce a psychedelic-like response causing individuals to feel detached from their surroundings.2, 3   When used as part of a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy plan – complete with preparation and integration – studies have shown that ketamine can be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, and other mental health conditions.4  

Spravato®, on the other hand, is the brand name for esketamine, a fast-acting nasal spray.  Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for adults with treatment-resistant depression and major depressive disorder with suicidal ideation or actions, Spravato® is used in conjunction with traditional oral antidepressants.5 The drug requires a prescription from a physician and patients must be monitored by a healthcare provider for at least two hours following treatment. Like ketamine, Spravato® is a Schedule III controlled substance and can be accompanied by preparation and integration, which the TARA Mind team believes are critical to ensuring comprehensive wraparound care geared toward optimizing outcomes.


1. Gao, M, Rejai, D., Liu, H., (2016 March 28). Ketamine Use in Current Clinical Practice. Nature. https://www.nature.com/articles/aps20165

2. VETS (n.d.). The Ins and Outs of Psychedelic Substances. Modern Recovery Veterans & Psychedelic-assisted Therapy. VETS. https://bit.ly/3Gpuh6E

3. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020 April). Drug Fact Sheet: Ketamine. Department of Justice. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Ketamine-2020.pdf

4. Oliver, P. et al. (2022 September 12). Clinical Effectiveness of Intravenous Racemic Ketamine Infusions in a Large Community Samples of Patients with Treatment-Resistant Depression, Suicidal Ideation, and Generalized Anxiety Symptoms: A Retrospective Chart Review. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. https://www.psychiatrist.com/

5. Walsh, S., (2019 March 5). FDA approves new nasal spray medication for treatment-resistant depression; available only at a certified doctor’s office or clinic. US Food and Drug Administration. https://www.fda.gov/