New Hope For Those Battling Depression

Bismarck – There’s new hope for those suffering from Depression.

This after the FDA, for the first time in decades, approved a new treatment for the disorder.

“There hasn’t been something like this in a very very long time,” Said Kelli Gabel, Owner of Thrive Anesthesia Services.

Tyler Schlittenhart is just one of the more than 16 million Americans who deal with depression on a regular basis.

“I Wasn’t part of my family, I wasn’t maintaining any relationships or friendships, work was a struggle, I wasn’t doing anything I wanted to do with my life,” Said Schlittenhart.

But now, those constant cloudy days may be replaced with sunshine thanks to the approval of a variant of Ketamine, several patients have renewed hope.

And if that name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s also known as “Special K” an anesthetic used as an illegal party drug.  

“We have patients come in here that have failed multiple interventions, they have had major depression for 15, 20 years, haven’t been able to work, haven’t been able to enjoy their lives, and they’re coming in here for a series of treatments and within a few weeks they are going back to work, they’re participating in activities that they used to love.” Said Gabel

So how has it been working for Schlittenhart?

“I go places, I have control of my life again, whereas before the mental illness takes control of your life, but now I’m in control and I can go do pretty much whatever, I’m a part of my family again, which I really wasn’t before”. Said Schlittenhart

But the drug does come with risks, it will have a black box warning from the FDA, as serious side effects, including suicidal thoughts and abuse…those given the nasal spray also need to be monitored for 2 hours after receiving their dose. Gabel tells me they are strict with whoever receives treatment.

“After we’ve spoken to their physician and figured out whether or not this is a viable option for them, or a good option for them, we then obtain their medical history and review that and we have to have a medical diagnosis on file before we will treat anybody.” Said Gebel.

Now this isn’t like going to a chiropractor for an adjustment…Treatment sessions for esketamine can range up to a thousand dollars but are expected to be covered under most insurance plans.

KX News reached out to Hospitals in the area for their thoughts on Ketamine.

Sanford Health gave us this statement…

Research suggests that Ketamine may be an effective treatment option for certain patients who suffer from depression.  However, Ketamine is classified as a general anesthetic by the FDA,which means in the state of North Dakota registered nurses are not allowed to administer the medication due to Board of Nursing rules.  This causes a significant barrier to patient access.  A Ketamine nasal spray has recently been approved by the FDA, which could make the medication more readily available than the traditional intravenous method. Ketamine does have side effects, so people need to discuss the risks and benefits with their provider.

– Dr. Chris Meeker, chief medical officer at Sanford Health in Bismarck

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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