Ask the Doctor: Sierra Ketamine Clinics
Chronic pain and mental illness is a daily battle for millions of people. However, relief is coming from a drug you might not expect called Ketamine. When two Reno doctors observed the profound benefits it had on patients, they wanted to make this therapy available to those who are suffering here in northern Nevada. We take you inside Sierra Ketamine Clinics for Health Watch.
Jen Godfrey sees life in a whole new way. "This is life-changing." She fought depression for years and after having her sweet baby, James, she battled chronic pain, too. However, she is starting to feel a lot better thanks to a new purpose for a decades-old drug.
First synthesized in 1962, "Ketamine started out as an anesthetic developed in the 1960's and widely used in the Vietnam War as a very safe anesthetic because it preserves vital signs which are very important in trauma patients." As Dr. Bret Frey explains, it has since been used regularly by first responders, in the operating room, and it is especially useful to sedate children for a trauma procedure. Recently, doctors found yet another purpose for the drug. "We found out in lower doses it actually treats pain and depression quite well."
After witnessing its results, emergency room physician, Dr. Frey and surgeon, Dr. Robert Watson teamed up to open Sierra Ketamine Clinics where patients have experienced relief for everything from severe depression and chronic pain to mood disorders. It is impacting those who don't respond to traditional treatments. Ketamine is believed to change the way brain cells communicate with each other. It blocks a receptor in the brain, known as the NMDA, which is thought to play a role in depression. It works quickly even though doctors use a strategically low dose. “We use doses that are literally 20-percent of what I'd give a child to sedate them in the ER." As part of the induction phase, patients are infused four times within two weeks. Each infusion lasts about 40-minutes. Treatment tapers off during the maintenance phase. For Jen, treatment worked right away. "The sense of well-being is still with me and it's been about a month."
Dr. Watson says it's literally changing the lives of folks who've suffered for years. "We can turn that around often times in the matter of an hour or two hours and that's incredibly gratifying to see patients leave with a smile and sometimes cry because of the dramatic change."
At this point, this treatment is considered an off-label therapy; the FDA has not yet approved Ketamine for depression. The price varies depending on frequency of treatment. Dr. Frey and Dr. Watson work closely with a patient’s physician, their psychiatrist and treatment centers. If you would like to learn more about ketamine, call (775) 276-5454 or log on to https://sierraketamineclinics.com/.