TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - It's considered a game-changer in the world of mental health.
Studies show a new depression drug, on-track for approval by the FDA, is helping patients who battle severe depression—people who have not responded to traditional medications in the past.
This drug, according to an FDA advisory panel, is allowing patients to achieve a healthy existence.
It's a nasal spray called Esketamine.
The drug has a similar chemical make-up to Ketamine, known as the club drug, often referred to as "Special K."
Studies have shown this new nasal spray to be highly effective.
On Tuesday, an FDA advisory panel voted 14 to 2 to approve the medication. The FDA will announce its final decision March 4th.
Clara Reynolds, CEO and president at the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, describes this as big news in the world of mental health.
She is thrilled to know that a new medicine is out there to help people who are hurting. "The thing that I'm so excited about is that we're having a conversation about new medications available," Clara told WFLA Tuesday night.
This champion for mental health says, with this latest development from the FDA, she's especially excited that this news is producing a positive, two-fold effect.
People are finding relief from depression, and the long-standing stigma is being addressed.
"That's why discussions like this are so important because everybody out there needs to understand, that brain health, mental health, is just as important as your physical health," Clara told us.
Those who have used the drug in clinical trials have seen huge success. Patients who were reportedly suicidal are now happy once again.
It is truly a game-changer, experts maintain, for those battling depression.
"We always encourage people to reach out, no matter what they may be struggling with," Clara said.. "It's normal to feel the blues now and then, but when it stretches on for eight, nine, 10 weeks at a time, when people cannot get out of bed, when they aren't enjoying life, we hope they ask for help, that they reach out to their medical doctor, their family, their friends, their faith leaders. They don't have to suffer in silence."
If you, or someone you know, need to speak with a counselor, they are ready to listen 24-7.
You can call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 2-1-1.
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