Ketamine Infusion With
Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine

At Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine ketamine infusions are used to treat chronic pain and mental health disorders. While ketamine has not been approved by the FDA to treat chronic pain disorders, IV Ketamine Infusion for the treatment of depression or other mental health and chronic pain disorders is an off-label use of this drug. Keep reading to learn more about the potential benefits, risks, and side effects of ketamine infusions, and learn why the pain management physicians at Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine in Colorado Springs choose to offer this innovative treatment.

Ketamine is an anesthetic medication that was first developed in the 1960s. It is widely used in operating rooms and emergency rooms in the U.S. and around the world during surgical procedures. Ketamine is FDA approved to be the sole anesthetic medication for diagnostic and surgical procedures. In recent years physicians have been exploring the use of Ketamine for the treatment of mood disorders and chronic pain. The FDA has granted two Ketamine-based drugs breakthrough therapy status and has fast-tracked them to market because of early promising results. Until they are officially approved by the FDA for mood disorders and chronic pain, your physician can still treat those conditions as a “Off Label” use of the medication.

Before a drug can be approved, a company must submit clinical data and other information to the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) for review. The company must show that the drug is safe and effective for its intended uses. “Safe” does not mean that the drug has no side effects. Instead, it means the FDA has determined the benefits of using the drug for a particular use outweigh the potential risks. Once a drug has been approved by the FDA for one purpose, healthcare providers may generally prescribe that drug for other purposes when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient. The practice of prescribing a drug for a purpose other than that for which it is approved is known as “off-label” use, and ketamine infusions are offered at Spinal Diagnostics & Regenerative Medicine in Colorado Springs with that practice in mind.

Benefits of Ketamine

The benefits of ketamine for chronic pain syndromes is currently being examined, with some early preliminary research already published. Ketamine has had a resurgence in popularity and there are new studies to suggest mild-moderate benefit in chronic pain syndromes including: 

  1. Neuropathic pain of mixed diagnoses

In 4 studies, significant reductions in pain during the ketamine infusion were observed compared with placebo.

  1. Traumatic spinal cord injury

Significant reductions in pain scores during the ketamine infusion were observed in all 3 studies compared with placebo. 

  1. Post Herpetic Neuralgia 

In a single double-blind randomized controlled trial (RCT), the effects of IV ketamine were investigated in 8 patients with PHN.  Between 15 and 45 minutes following the ketamine infusion, significant reductions in pain scores were observed compared with placebo.

  1. Phantom Limb Pain

In 2 double-blind RCTs, the effects of IV ketamine were assessed in 21 patients with phantom limb pain with significant reductions in pain scores during the infusion observed in both studies compared with placebo.

  1. CRPS, fibromyalgia, and chronic ischemic pain

The effects of ketamine on CRPS were investigated in 2 double-blind RCTs involving 79 patients. Significant improvements in pain were observed with ketamine compared with placebo at weeks 1 through 11 following the ketamine infusion. For CRPS, there is moderate evidence supporting regular ketamine infusions to improve pain and function.

The Procedure

The medication is prescribed and administered under the direct supervision of a staff physician based on your individual history and medical condition.  When you are going to receive the medication, you will first be connected to a cardiac monitor — a blood oxygen monitor which is attached to your finger and a blood pressure monitor. The monitoring equipment is painless. A member of the staff will start an IV on you using a very small needle. The infusion will be of a low dose of Ketamine (based on your weight) that will be given over 90-120 minutes and monitored by a physician.

Risks / Side Effects

Any medical procedure and medications have possible risks and side effects. The procedure may cause all, some or none of the risks or side effects listed. In the majority of patients, ketamine is associated with minimal physiological effects on the neurologic, cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal, and ophthalmic systems. Ketamine is metabolized by the liver and excreted by the kidney. Large case series and systematic reviews indicate that there is an approximately 3.5% to 7.4% incidence of psychomimetic or dysphoric effects with IV ketamine.  Nearly all reported side effects were mild and include sedation, feeling of drunkenness, dizziness, out of body sensations, paresthesia and nausea. Please discuss these with your physician prior to proceeding with an infusion.

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