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FDA approves Ketamine-like nasal spray for depression

Local doctors talk about benefits of the drug
Posted: 6:54 PM, Mar 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-03-07 00:07:38-05

BAKERSFIELD, CA. — A Ketamine-like nasal spray was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Tuesday.

The drug in the nasal spray is a chemical cousin of Ketamine and provides benefits to those suffering from depression.

Dr. Jan Trobish offers intravenous infusions of Ketamine at his clinic Synergy Wellness in Kern County. Doctor Trobish said Ketamine has a history of providing much needed benefits for those suffering from depression.

"The patients who usually see me have tried other medications for depression and other mood disorders and have not had any success. When they start an IV Ketamine treatment they feel immediately better," said Trobish.

Now, with the new nasal form of the drug approved, experts say more people will have access to treatment.

"Convenience-wise, it is huge. There is no need for nursing skills, no need for a sterile room and it can be done in any reasonable treatment room," said Dr. Albert Ma, a psychiatrist at Synergy Wellness.

Experts say the nasal spray must still be administered by a health care provider, in a doctor's office or medical clinic.

"It is not something that can be taken home because of the risk of side effects and using it recreationally," said Trobish.

Experts say Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic and is also used illegally as a psychedelic party drug.

Even in small doses during medical treatment, side effects could include disassociation, dizziness, nausea and increased blood pressure.

"This is a new treatment that is exciting, but I would be very cautious with the medication," said Ma.

However, Trobish remains adamant that the fast acting benefits of Ketamine are something that have been lacking with current treatment options.

"The experience works for almost anyone, within minutes, compared to a traditional anti-depressant that may take three to four weeks. If someone is acutely depressed and wants to take their life, then they can't wait three to four weeks."