Ketamine infusions may be effective for various pain conditions such as neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), migraines, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic neuralgia and spinal cord injury. Ketamine was first used in 1966 as an anesthetic and recently interest in its properties has been growing. Ketamine is what is known as an N-methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptor antagonist. The activity of this receptor can be altered in various conditions such as chronic pain, depression and PTSD.
Ketamine is a potent anesthetic, but the anesthetic effects are short-lived. In low doses it is tremendously effective in reducing pain. In high doses, ketamine can cause euphoria and hallucinations which has popularized its recreational use. The long-term benefits from ketamine derive from the way it changes activity in the spinal cord and brain to reduce nerve activity activated by disease states. Chronic pain and depression are often interlinked. Individuals suffering from chronic pain often become depressed. On the other hand, we know if you suffer from depression, you are more prone to chronic pain as well. It is estimated that between 50-75% of chronic pain patients have depression. Ketamine is one of a few treatments targeting both aspects of this problem. When used for depression, it is recommend the diagnosis of depression be confirmed by a physician. In addition, you should first try antidepressant medication before resorting to ketamine infusions. Antidepressants generally take weeks to work for depression. What is remarkable about ketamine is the immediacy of the antidepressant effects. When it works, it takes only hours instead of weeks! Ketamine works differently than traditional antidepressants and can therefore be especially beneficial to those who have not responded to antidepressants.
Ketamine is widely used to treat acute pain, especially following surgery. In low doses, ketamine can reduce post operative pain and reduce the need for strong narcotics by 40% with very little side effects. We now know uncontrolled acute pain can lead to chronic pain. If you have had a major operation recently, you may have been given ketamine as part of your anesthetic. The successful use of ketamine in the operating room has lead to surge in use for chronic pain as well.
Ketamine can be administered through many different routes. Most commonly, ketamine is delivered through an intravenous (IV) pump. Sometimes, patients will ingest ketamine orally as a pill. Ketamine can also be applied directly to the skin as a topical gel or cream, inhaled through the nose, or injected into a muscle or bone.
Patients with chronic pain have been successfully treated with intravenous or intranasal ketamine. Those responding to treatment have seen the following results:
▪ reduced pain
▪ improved depression
▪ more hopeful
▪ improved interpersonal relationships
▪ more relaxed
At Allpria Healthcare, we use ketamine a possible treatment option to treat various chronic pain disorders and depression. Therapy is individually tailored to your needs and our professional office staff provides a safe and comfortable experience for the infusion. The success rates for ketamine therapy vary based on the condition, but more that 70% of patients has a beneficial response. At low dose the side effects are minimal but may include dizziness, abnormal muscle movements, changes in blood pressure or heart rate, increased salivation, disorientation, nausea, redness or swelling at the IV site, and allergic reactions. These side effects will subside once the infusion stops. Schedule an appointment to discuss if this treatment is right for you.