What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an old drug that has been used in the field of medicine for decades. It is a powerful analgesic medication that is NOT an OPIOID. It works at NMDA receptor as an antagonist. The NMDA receptor has been researched extensively especially in the areas of chronic pain.

What is Ketamine used for?

It has been used in the operating room for pre-emptive analgesia and in the Burn Unit ICU for dressing changes for burn patients.

More recently, ketamine has had a significant impact in the field of pain medicine and psychiatry. It has been used extensively in the treatment of depression refractory to conservative treatment, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain due to a myriad of causes.

What can I expect from my ketamine treatment?

Here at Pain and Spine Physicians SA, we use sub-anesthetic dosing to achieve our goals. Our protocol includes 6 one hour infusions of ketamine over a 6 week period. You will need to be NPO for 8 hours and have a driver take you home. Expect to be in clinic for 1.5 hours. Everyone will respond differently to their first infusion and results may vary. Give the infusions time to work. You may notice improvement in sleep, mood, energy levels, and decreased pain levels.

What are some side effects of ketamine?

Ketamine can cause dose dependent nausea and vomiting as well as increase in blood pressure. You may read on the internet that ketamine can cause nightmares. This is dose dependent and typically does not occur at the doses we administer. During your infusion you will receive IV anxiety medication, antiemetic medication, and possibly anti-hypertensive medication throughout the infusion.

What are contraindications to ketamine?

We will cancel your procedure if you have untreated or unstable seizures. You may read that ketamine can induce seizures. This is rare and is dose dependent. At our clinic’s dosing it is extremely unlikely. In addition, we give you medication that increases seizure threshold.

Moreover, ketamine can increase your blood pressure. Again, this is dose-dependent and unlikely but we may cancel your procedure if you arrive with very high blood pressure and/or it is uncontrolled.