What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a member of a class of drugs called phencyclidines. Phencyclidines are dissociative anesthetics and cause pain relief, unresponsiveness while maintaining airway reflexes and breathing. Ketamine affects multiple nervous system pathways. Regarding the biological experience of pain, ketamine reduces pain by blocking the NMDA receptor which is an ion channel involved in excitation of the central nervous system. By interfering with the NMDA receptor, ketamine interferes with pain signal transmission. Ketamine has also been shown to directly bind opioid (pain medication) receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Studies have shown ketamine is beneficial in the treatment of chronic pain syndromes, particularly those with a neuropathic component.
Ketamine Role in Treating Chronic Pain
Chronic stimulation of pain pathways in the nervous system of patients with chronic pain can lead to increased density of NMDA receptors in the spinal cord. When this happens, a process called central sensitization, pain signals sent to the brain are intensified. With central sensitization the nervous system can perceive pain from normally non-painful stimulation. By blocking NMDA receptors, ketamine reduces pain and contributes to reversal of central sensitization. Conditions such as migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy syndromes (for example, from diabetes or after a herpetic infection), phantom limb syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome have been shown to respond to ketamine.
Ketamine Side Effects
Ketamine is generally considered safe. The main side effects are dissociation, intoxication, sedation, high blood pressure, dizziness, headache, blurred vision, anxiety, nausea, and vomiting. Ketamine is avoided or used with extreme caution in the following groups: people with psychosis or schizophrenia, with substance abuse disorders, teenagers, pregnant or breastfeeding patients, older adults with dementia, people with uncontrolled blood pressure, high-risk coronary artery disease, unstable angina, certain endocrine disorders like pheochromocytoma, elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure and those with severe liver disease.
Can Ketamine Infusions Help Me?
If you suffer from chronic regional pain syndrome, phantom limb syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic back or neck pain, chronic joint pain or neuralgia, Ketamine Infusions may give you the relief you've been missing.
Ketamine was initially used as an anesthesia medicine in the 1960s. It was administered to soldiers on the front lines during the Vietnam War. Since the 1990s, many clinical studies have found that ketamine is not only useful to relieve pain short term, but can be an effective way to treat certain chronic pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, migraines and burns. In the 2000s, medical studies showed ketamine was a viable alternative treatment for depression. Today mental health professionals are using ketamine to treat treatment-resistant depression and other mental conditions such as PTSD. Ketamine is also used to treat chronic moderate to severe pain.
How Many Ketamine Treatments Do I Need?
We individualize treatment plans for every patient. Generally, we recommend a series of three infusions within one week before making additional treatment recommendations.
What can I expect during ketamine infusions?
If you've completed a Ketamine infusion consultation and are scheduled for an infusion, the length of your ketamine infusion may vary depending on your condition. After your infusion, we recommend you remain at the office for observation for about 30 minutes and arrange to have someone bring you home. We also recommend that you take it easy for the remainder of the day. To get the most benefits out of your ketamine infusions, you may need a series of treatments.
Ketamine Role in Treating Depression
By binding to NMDA receptors, ketamine increases the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate participates in the activation of AMPA receptors. Together these processes lead to new pathways of communication between nerve cells called synaptogenesis. As a result, mood, thought patterns and cognition are changed. Ketamine is used to improve treatment-resistant depression. In fact, ketamine was approved by the FDA for treatment resistant depression in 2019.
Why choose Medical Pain and Spine Care for your ketamine infusions?
We are IV infusion experts. Ketamine is an anesthetic, commonly used in the operating room for general anesthesia. Dr. Klim and Dr. Nielson are double board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology in both anesthesiology and pain medicine. Additionally, both doctors are members of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists and Practitioners. Our approach to patient care combines meticulous attention to safety, effectiveness and patient satisfaction.
Does Medical Insurance Pay for Ketamine Infusions?
Medical insurance providers do not cover the cost of ketamine infusion therapy for any disorders. Treatment costs depend on the disorder being treated, the number of infusion treatments needed, the length of the infusion and the dose used. The average cost to the patient is anywhere between $325 - $1,350 per infusion session. Compared to these rates, our services are lower than average. Our goal is to allow patient access this potentially beneficial therapy.