Clinical trials for new anti-depression drug in St. Charles

ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – For the first time in 50 years, there is a new anti-depression medicine that has been fast-tracked by the FDA after showing amazing results and available.

Doctors have called Spravato a potentially revolutionary treatment for stubborn depression.

Dr. Greg Mattingly, a St. Louis-based and internationally known psychiatrist, oversaw one of the research sites in town, where he reported phenomenal results.

“It’s a treatment given intranasally so the dose is absorbed directly to the brain,” Mattingly said. “We have seen by the next day three out of four people whose depression has already started to get better.”

Spravato is the first-ever medication to target a different chemical in the brain. Dr. Mattingly said if someone is having success with their current medication they should stick to it. However, if they are in the 33 percent of people who haven’t had success with current medications, Spravato could be for them.

“The FDA gave this medication breakthrough status. They said it's a breakthrough as a treatment medicine,” Mattingly said. “Our president called the head of the VA and said, ‘I want this medication approved for veterans struggling with depression.’”

Mattingly said that’s why a medication like this is so vital for those who don’t see results with current options.

One such success story in the St. Louis trial is Nicole Passarelli. The 23-year-old has struggled with major depression since high school. She had dropped out of school, wouldn’t leave her room or even shower, and even tried to kill herself.

“By the time I met Dr. Mattingly, I had a list of meds, a couple trips to in-patient, and didn’t know what to do,” Passarelli said.

Mattingly put her into his Spravato trial study. Nicole said her life has changed fast since taking the medication.

“Spravato gave me a push to want more, to be able to go and make my own goals, and to think of a future for myself,” she said. “I thought I would be dead at 23.”

Last semester, Passarelli got straight As in her college classes.

Mattingly said when most insurance typically covers the treatment.

“You’re watched for two hours because medication can sometimes change your blood pressure, heart rate, and make you a bit sleepy,” he said. “So it has to be given in a place where you are watched.”

Mattingly said depression is on the rise in young people.

“We have young people, college-aged students, where depression is on the rise and suicides are on the rise. We know in military and veterans, depression is on rise,” he said.

The St. Charles Psychiatric Associates was the first facility in the Midwest and third in the country to facilitate the administration of the medication.

For information on local centers to receive treatment, visit

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.