CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- For those suffering from depression who aren’t having luck with traditional medicine, there is an experimental new option now available in the Charlotte area that claims to cure depression almost instantly by administering ketamine in an IV.
Ketamine is sometimes used as a recreational party drug nicknamed ‘Special K.’ It’s also used as a pet tranquilizer, and most commonly used as an anesthetic in the doctor’s office.
“We've had patients who literally haven't left the house in years who are now living normal lives,” said Dr. Neal Taub, who offers the treatment at his Charlotte practice, The Taub Group. “It's the most impressive things I’ve ever seen in medicine.”
Most patients receive six hour long treatments over a span of two weeks, with optional boosters once a month or so after.
“I've never seen anything quite like this,” Dr. Taub said. “Patients who are extremely depressed, some of whom have had electric shock therapy or have tried 10 or 15 different anti depressants, then try this and feel better.”
Dr. Taub’s practice is one of the only places in North Carolina that offers the treatment.
“Considering how successful it is I'm not sure why there's not more of it going on,” he said.
The treatment doesn’t come without controversy. Ketamine is FDA approved for anesthesia, but not for depression, so insurance won’t cover it. And at around $500 per treatment, it’s not cheap.
Dr. Taub said there aren’t any significant negative side effects, but some people do report hallucinations and lucid dreaming while receiving the treatment.