Intravenous (IV) Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine infusion is often used to treat depression, but its benefits extend far beyond that. If you suffer from chronic pain that does not respond to conservative treatments, intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy may make a difference.

Speak with a skilled doctor as soon as possible about your pain situation and whether you are a candidate for intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy.

Ketamine History

Ketamine is a drug originally developed for anesthesia maintenance and received FDA approval half a century ago. It also has powerful pain-relieving properties. When given intravenously, the medication blocks pain receptors in the spinal cord and brain.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy is often used to treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). This condition generally affects the limbs after an injury. CRPS results from damage to the central nervous system. Symptoms include:

  • Burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Difficulty moving the affected extremity
  • Intermittent skin color and texture changes
  • Joint stiffness
  • Hair and nail growth changes
  • Odd sweating pattern in the affected area
  • Swelling of the affected area

A sprain, broken bone, or soft tissue injury may start the CRPS process, but the patient’s suffering is usually far more severe than normal for such injuries. Long after the original trauma has healed, the pain survives, often growing in intensity.

Other Pain Syndromes

In addition to CRPS, intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy is used to treat various pain syndromes, including:

  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy
  • Neuropathy
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Pelvic pain

It also relieves pain in cancer patients.

Therapy Process

The intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy process is simple. As the name indicates, patients receive an infusion of the drug into their body, with the needle going into the arm or leg.

Patients must fast for at least eight hours before the procedure. Depending on the reason for treatment, the infusion may last several hours. The majority of patients require several infusion sessions, but will find relief immediately after the initial treatment.

These sessions may take place on consecutive days, with the protocol repeated the following week. A small minority of patients will not respond to intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy.

Ketamine Aftercare

After the infusion, patients must stay on the premises for a few hours, with nurses monitoring vital signs. Some disorientation is normal after ketamine infusion, so it is not safe for a patient to drive home alone. Transportation should be arranged ahead of time. Most patients can resume normal activities the day following the infusion.

Side Effects

Intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy can have some serious side effects. These include:

  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory issues
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Panic attacks
  • Rising blood pressure

Most of these side effects are short-lived. Fortunately, side effects are usually manageable via dosage adjustment. The FDA insert for ketamine states: “Ketamine has a wide margin of safety; several instances of unintentional administration of overdoses of ketamine (up to ten times that usually required) have been followed by prolonged but complete recovery.”

Contact a Doctor

If you suffer from chronic pain and would like to know more about intravenous (IV) ketamine infusion therapy, call an experienced doctor today for an examination.