Medical Conditions That May Benefit From Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine is often thought of as a "street" drug but has been used as an anesthetic in the medical field for many decades. Ketamine infusion therapy (KIT) is increasing in popularity as a way to help some people with various physical and psychiatric conditions who may not respond well to conventional therapies.

Chronic Pain

As prescription opioids for people with chronic pain decrease, many are left with few effective alternatives to manage their pain. Additionally, although opioids are powerful drugs, everyone responds to them differently and may not achieve adequate pain relief. Ketamine can be an effective alternative for some people with chronic pain. Although ketamine may be tried for various forms of chronic pain, it is more widely used for different types of neuropathic pain, such as complex regional pain syndrome or nerve pain after shingles. Ketamine is not effective for all patients. It seems as though the patients who have pain relief from ketamine have a specific type of receptors in their spinal cord that ketamine affects.

Mental Health

Ketamine is also being used to address some mental illnesses, such as severe depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. As with chronic pain, ketamine therapy is typically reserved for people that did not have adequate relief of symptoms with conventional therapies, such as medications and therapy. Ketamine therapy can be a good choice before considering more extensive treatments for depression, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).ECT involves creating a controlled seizure to help improve severe, treatment-resistant depression.

One of the advantages of KIT is if it works, it has a rapid onset, unlike conventional antidepressants which can take months to reach their maximum effectiveness. The effects of KIT do wear off approximately a week or so later. When starting KIT, you will have multiple sessions in the first week and steadily decrease your sessions over the coming weeks. Once you are down to a weekly session and KIT is effective, you will likely only need monthly maintenance sessions.

Seizure Disorder

Seizure disorder is a complex neurological condition because it can involve various forms of seizures, such as epilepsy, focal seizures, and/or generalized seizures. Most seizure disorders are treated with anti-seizure medications. For some people, these medications do not work at all or they may still experience break-through seizures. If a person with seizures only has a small area of the brain that is responsible for all or most of their seizures and this part of the brain is not responsible for important functions, surgeons may decide to remove that part of the brain. If surgery is starting to look like the next step in seizure control, your doctor may consider trying KIT to see if it offers better control over seizures than medication alone.

Although ketamine has a lengthy history of being an anesthetic, it may also have additional benefits in lower doses. The off-label use of ketamine may be appropriate for some people who have not had their conditions successfully managed with conventional treatments. Learn more by contacting KIT therapy services.