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An intravenous (IV) infusion of ketamine, an anesthetic, is typically used to treat chronic neuropathic pain disorders in patients who have not responded to other forms of pain management. Chronic neuropathic pain disorders often occur in patients who have experienced a stroke, undergone chemotherapy or spinal cord surgery, or have an existing health problem such as diabetes. Symptoms of neuropathic pain disorders include pains throughout the body, tingling and numbness. The main purpose of an IV ketamine infusion is to reduce the patient‘s overall pain.

IV ketamine infusions are sometimes helpful for patients with depression that has not responded to usual treatments. It is best if patients that are interested in this treatment are under the care of a psychiatrist provider so that this treatment can be coordinated for optimal results.

The IV Ketamine Infusion Procedure

Intravenous ketamine can be safely performed in the office setting. Our anesthesiology training and office monitoring equipment allow our ketamine patients to have the safest care possible as an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist is present the entire time for the infusion to monitor correct response and handle any untoward effects.

First, an IV line will be inserted into the patient‘s arm and low doses of ketamine will be administered. In most cases, the dosage amount will be slowly increased each hour, with the infusion procedure taking about 4 hours to complete.

Recovery from the IV Ketamine Infusion

Recovery from a ketamine infusion procedure is usually short and most patients can return to their day but sometimes fatigue and impaired judgement can be present for a day. Driving and important decisions should be delayed until the next day after full recovery is expected.

Complications of the IV Ketamine Infusion

Fortunately, most patients do not experience serious complications following an IV ketamine infusion. However, possible complications may include:

  • Fatigue

  • Changes in blood pressure

  • Seizures

  • Arrhythmias

Doctors will monitor the patient‘s results to ensure there are no significant complications following the infusion.

Results of the IV Ketamine Infusion

Patients who undergo an IV ketamine infusion will typically still experience some amount of pain, though typically it will be more manageable. If pain levels increase again, the procedure may be repeated. As a result of IV ketamine infusion, patients can often reduce the amount of pain medication they take and feel comfortable performing more activities.

Additional Resources

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