Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication : 1A One of our listeners left a message sharing his experience with ketamine. He says it saved his life. "Ketamine is the only thing that gave me release from my treatment-resistant depression," he told us.

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Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication

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Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication

1A

Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication

Special K: Ketamine, From Party Drug To Depression Medication

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/716090841/716102823" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 23: Bottles of antidepressant pills Wellbutrin (L-R), Paxil, Lexapro, Effexor, Zoloft and Fluoxetine. Joe Raedle/Joe Raedle/Getty Images hide caption

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Joe Raedle/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 23: Bottles of antidepressant pills Wellbutrin (L-R), Paxil, Lexapro, Effexor, Zoloft and Fluoxetine.

Joe Raedle/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Depression affects more than 16 million Americans, each of whom has a unique journey to finding treatments that work. This can involve a lot of trial and error — but what if you don't find anything that works?

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved a new drug based on ketamine to treat treatment-resistant depression. It's called esketamine, sold in a nasal spray called Spravato.

Intravenous ketamine has been used to treat depression for years — as well as to cause euphoric highs as a party drug.

What led the FDA to approve this new medication? Why is it so hard to find an anti-depression regimen that works? And what kind of difference has it made in patients' lives?