Ketamine infusion is a safe, out-patient therapy that is used to manage pain symptoms, particularly of refractory complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Patients who suffer from neuropathic pain may not benefit from long-term use of opioids; in fact, prolonged use of opioids may lead to physical dependency.
CRPS is characterized as intense, burning pain at the point of injury that progressively worsens over time. It is a chronic nerve disorder that is caused by nerve damage and could lead to problems throughout the body. Ketamine infusion therapy inhibits the transmission and perception of pain from damaged nerve or nerves.
The exact cause of chronic pain conditions is unknown, but one theory pinpoints central sensitization, in which neurons of the spinal cord become sensitized by tissue damage or inflammation.
Ketamine is a NMDA receptor antagonist, which means it interferes with NMDA receptors that are responsible for central sensitization and pain transmission. Ketamine has analgesic properties that also inhibit the production of nitric oxide, a neurotransmitter involved in pain perception.
How is Ketamine Infusion Performed?
The patient is put under deep conscious sedation and a ketamine drip is administered at an escalating dose; simultaneously, the patient’s vital signs and level of consciousness are monitored.
Can I eat or drink anything pre-procedure?
Patients must not drink or eat anything at least 6 hours prior to procedure.
What can I expect post-procedure?
In the first hours after the infusion, patients may experience drowsiness and may be unsteady on their feet. Transportation should be arranged ahead of time, since the patient will be unable to drive. Patients could experience long-term pain relief that may last for weeks or months.