Lisa Newman has battled depression for more than 30 years. She says she's finally finding relief with ketamine infusions.
"It's completely changed my life," she said. "I've cut my antidepressants in half, which I never thought that I would do."
Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic and pain reliever, known as the party drug "Special K." Now, the drug is gaining popularity to treat severe depression symptoms.
Dr. Steven Mandel runs ketamine clinics of Los Angeles. Patients receive small doses of ketamine through infusions. He says while antidepressants take several weeks to work, ketamine kicks in within hours and the effects last up to three months.
"Many of them have tried every drug you've heard of, some you haven't. And these people come to me because they haven't been relieved by any of these things." Mandel said.
A study just published from San Diego researchers shows pain patients who received ketamine reported less depression.
But many experts have questions about ketamine's long-term effects on the mind and body. The American Psychiatric Association has not endorsed it and says more research is needed.
Mandel works with his patients' physicians before starting treatment.
"I think Ketamine is a miracle!" patient Richard Hall said.
His wife, Betsy, says it's changed their lives.
"I'm seeing him able to enjoy his life in a more fulfilling way than he's been able to do in many years," she said.
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