RENO, Nev (KOLO) The clear plastic IV bag contains saline and a small amount of Ketamine. Two times a week, Samantha Cobb is hooked up to the medicine for about 40 minutes.
A chronic pain patient with depression, she says within hours she feels like a million bucks.
“For the past four years I haven't been able to walk without a brace or a crutch. Some days I couldn't get out of bed, the pain was so bad. But these last couple of weeks, it's been, I don't even have the words to describe it. I mean, it has literally been a miracle,” says Samantha.
Samantha says she had heard about Ketamine treatments and did her research. But until about three months ago, there was no such clinic locally to help her. That all changed with Sierra Ketamine Clinic.
“Many of our patients are at wit’s end. They have given up on life in many regards. To see many people do a 180, really, and pick up the pieces of their life and move forward, with a smile on their face, is pretty impressive,” says Dr. Bret Frye with Sierra Ketamine Clinic.
Dr. Frye says typically Ketamine has been used as an agent with anesthesia before and after surgery.
At Ketamine clinics like this, the drug is used to help block pain signals to the spine. For patients with mood disorders it corrects the glutamate chemistry in the brain.
Dr. Frye says not every patient is a success story, and they will know after 4 to 6 treatments if it is right for the patient. For some patients routine treatment is necessary.
“It is either living with this pain the rest of my life or coming in here every couple of weeks, for an hour. And I would much rather do that,” says Samantha.
There is a downside to all of this; the treatment is not covered by insurance. But experts say it is just a matter of time.