Ketamine has become a popular and effective drug adminstered intravenously to treat depression,.
Now, it's chemical relative, esketamine has been approved as a treament that may be even more effective for those struggling to find relief.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the drug for use in a Johnson & Johnson nasal spray called Spravato.
It's the first new type of treatment for depression in more than 30 years… Unlike other anti-depressants such as Prozac that can take weeks to show an effect, esketamine works much faster, sometimes within just a few hours… Esketamine, is a chemical mirror image of the anesthetic ketamine, which is often abused as a recreational party drug known as "Special K" (SOUNDBITE) KAYLA SNYDER, KETAMINE INFUSION PATIENT, SAYING: Every three to six months I seem to have a severe depressive episode, which includes not getting out of bed for a week to two weeks, not showering, not eating, Kayla Snyder started battling depression after she left her New Jersey home for college… (SOUNDBITE) KAYLA SNYDER, KETAMINE INFUSION PATIENT, SAYING: I didn't know what I was doing in life, what my purpose was.
I just didn't feel like I was needed in life// (sot) I.
Thought I was just-- something was wrong with me.
Snyder says she tried to kill herself three times.
Her anti-depressants weren't helping.
But then she started intravenous ketamine treatment --- at a New York City clinic.
She says it changed her life… (SOUNDBITE) KAYLA SNYDER, KETAMINE INFUSION PATIENT, SAYING: I didn't have suicidal thoughts every day, which I used to have, and, like, planning suicides at any moment.
And I just felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
(SOUNDBITE) DR. DENNIS CHARNEY, MT.
SINAI SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, SAYING: We found in our first study of ketamine the patients started feeling better within a few hours.
Dr. Dennis Charney has spent two decades studying ketamine.
He will get a share of any profits from the spray version.
He says the spray takes effect much more quickly than conventional treatments and can be used in lower doses than the intravenous version.
But Spravato must be taken in a doctor's office or medical facility, not at home.
The spray, which costs around $600 to $900 hundred dollars, will carry a black box warning - cautioning the user they may experience problems with attention and suicidal thoughts.
But for Snyder, she hopes that the benefits will outweigh the risks..