Ketamine Infusion for Chronic Pain

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Ketamine infusion for chronic pain is a relative new treatment for people with chronic pain, and there isn’t enough research to support its widespread use. However, for some people, ketamine infusions make a difference in their quality of life.

Ketamine is a medication that is usually used along with a sedative for anesthetic purposes. In a relative widely circulated retrospective review published in the October 2004 issue of Pain Medicine, the series of IV medication treatments was found to be helpful in patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Some people with fibromyalgia have also tried ketamine infusions with varying degrees of success. Another advantage is that it may provide significant help with depression that accompanies chronic pain.

Ketamine infusions are usually performed in a hospital setting and aren’t quick and easy. In fact, they require a five-day inpatient stay. Typically, a an intravenous (IV) line is inserted and the patient is started on a dose of 20mg of ketamine per hour, which is increased by 5mg increments to a maximum of 40mg per hour. If they are given in an outpatient setting, they may be given in a series of 10 ivs over a two week period.

Common side effects include fatigue, dizziness, lightheadesness and nausea, though there are few reports of patients stopping treatment due to side effects.
Keep in mind that ketamine infusions are not accepted as the standard of care, and so many health insurance companies will refuse to pay for treatment that it may label as experimental and can cost $5,000 or more excluding hospital stays. There are a limited number of sites in the US that offer ketamine infusions, and some people travel out of the country for more affordable care.

If you are interested in learning more about ketamine infusion for chronic pain, contact your health care provider.

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Fibromyalgia is a prevalent condition that affects many people in the United States. Approximately 3.7 million Americans have Fibromyalgia. That is 1 in every 73 people.

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