The FDA approved its use decades ago for use as an anesthetic. For patients with chronic pain, Austin Diagnostic Pain Center doctors are using in smaller doses as a continuous infusion to help patients need fewer addictive painkillers like morphine. Administered through an IV infusion in the arm, ketamine takes effect right away, and the effects can last from days to weeks. Patients typically receive a series of based on how efficacious the therapy is in treating their chronic pain. Ketamine IV infusion targets NMDA receptors in the brain. It binds to these receptors, thus increasing the amount of a select neurotransmitter called glutamate in the space between neurons. Glutamate activates connections in another receptor called the AMPA receptor. Working in unison, these NMDA and activated AMPA receptors release additional molecules that help neurons communicate along new pathways. This complex process is called synaptogenesis, and it affects mood, cognition, and pain.
Prior to Ketamine Treatments
Before you schedule your ketamine infusion therapy, we carefully evaluate your physical health and conduct a thorough review of your medical history. We discuss, in detail, ketamine, your expectations for therapy, and any previous treatments you’ve undergone for your pain, depression, migraines, or whatever condition with which you’re struggling.
At your Ketamine Infusion:
Your ketamine treatment is delivered in a private and pleasant setting. The technician places an IV in your vein and the infusion begins. You feel a prick during the IV insertion, but otherwise, the treatment is painless. You simply sit back and relax as the ketamine drips into your body. When dosed appropriately, ketamine can immediately lift your mood, but it doesn’t provide the “high” you may experience with opioids or other drugs. Ketamine can actually mellow you out and sedate you slightly. Generally, you can expect to remain relaxed yet awake throughout the infusion. In the 30 minutes following treatment, you remain in our office so we can check your vitals and reaction to the ketamine. Your ketamine infusion therapy can make you a little groggy, so you should have a loved one or friend drive you home from treatment. By the next morning, you should feel energized again. Don’t be surprised if you notice a reduction in pain within an hour of your first treatment. We will schedule you for a series of treatments to help you achieve optimal results. Some patients benefit from occasional follow-up treatments, too.