This past week the FDA approved Auvelity, the first rapidly acting medication for depression. Existing medications for Major Depressive Disorder can take 6 to 8 weeks before people see improvement in their symptoms. However, with Auvelity, some began seeing relief in 1 week, just a fraction of the time offered by existing treatments.
Auvelity is a combination of two existing medications, dextromethorphan and bupropion. You might recognize dextromethorphan as a common cough suppressant. The other medication, bupropion, is a used as a smoking cessation aid and as an antidepressant.
When bupropion alone is given as an antidepressant, it can take several weeks to work, just like other existing medications for depression. However, in combination, these two drugs appear to treat depression much more quickly than any other existing option. Interestingly, this novel combination in Auvelity fights depression faster and more effectively than just bupropion alone.
A breakthrough like this couldn’t come at a better time, either. Since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, the number of Americans with mental health issues has skyrocketed. In 2021, 1 in 3 Americans experienced symptoms of depression. That’s almost 4 times higher than before the pandemic began. At the same time, it’s also harder than ever to find a treatment provider in the first place. A new medication like Auvelity could make a big difference for a lot of people with depression symptoms when time is of the essence and resources are stretched thin.
Auvelity will be available by the end of this year.