More than eight years after mobile intravenous hangover hookups in Las Vegas circulated through the news, the vitamin therapy trend has arrived on Montana Avenue with a more mature message. While the menu at the Hydration Room at 1007 Montana Avenue includes a hangover treatment, Dr. Brett Florie’s proprietary blends also aim to reduce stress, prevent colds and flues and help relieve chronic pain.

“I think IV clinics in general get sort of a bad rap, like it’s a place to go when you’re hungover or need a ‘quick fix’ type of thing,” Florie admitted after opening the airy clinic earlier this month, “but I would say that’s less than five percent of our business.”

In fact, about half of the clients visiting Florie’s existing locations in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna beach have a chronic illness, according to the founding doctor and owner. While the locations offer menus with various vitamin cocktails, Florie said many clients are treated on an individualized basis as part of their overall treatment for cancer, Chrohn’s, Lyme and autoimmune diseases.   With both an M.D. and D.O., the anesthesiologist often writes prescriptions for intravenous anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory medications. He says he never prescribes narcotics.

Despite the cushy white leather recliners and soft blankets, the process of getting an IV drip is still a medical maneuver and not for the needle phobic. (It’s estimated about ten percent of Americans have a fear of needles.) Walk-in clients fill out various medical forms and liability releases before a nurse escorts them to a private room to insert a catheter into a vein, typically in the arm.

Once the client is back in his or her recliner, the vitamin blend drip is inserted. Within moments, the patient gets the only inclination of the stream of vitamins flowing through their system – the distinct taste of a One A Day tablet in their mouths. Florie said sensitive receptors in the mouth pick up on the vitamin content in the bloodstream. About twenty minutes later, the process is over.

Critics deride IV therapy as unnecessary at best and ineffective at worst. Despite detractors, the practice has slowly spread across the United States. The therapy made more bad headlines this week when 12-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte was suspended from competition for 14 months after posting a picture of himself getting an infusion. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency bans the practice for volumes greater than 100mL in a 12-hour period, even for vitamin blends. Lochte acknowledged he made a “technical violation.”

Florie said his patients see real benefits to the infusions and is happy to be part of a growing wellness trend. His first IV therapy patient was his own wife who suffered from intense migraines while he was in residency. When he realized he could create a blend to help another friend suffering from Crohn’s Disease receive adequate nutrition, he decided to open his own clinic in Orange County.

Florie said anyone who believes in the benefit of Vitamin C powders to stop a cold or flu should see the benefit to an IV boost. Because IV’s bypass the digestive system, he can give much higher doses of Vitamin C, Zinc and B Vitamins. During last year’s crushing flu season, Florie said his chairs were filled with patients seeking to avoid a trip to Urgent Care.

“The amount of vitamins in an IV would be like taking 40 packets of airbourne,” Florie said. “You’d be cramped up and in the bathroom not moving. That’s another example of how IV therapy is just that much more effective.”

Santa Monicans interested in giving the Hydration Room a shot can book an appointment on their website, thehydrationroom.com, or simply walk in.

 

kate@smdp.com

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press