Ketamine is a commonly used anesthetic medicine. During ketamine therapy, an intravenous (IV) infusion of this medicine can block pain receptors in the brain and spinal cord while still allowing the nerve to function normally. After infusion, these heightened and abnormal pain sensations may disappear. The object of ketamine therapy is to improve pain tolerance and decrease pain output. Patients may find a dramatic increase in pain relief, and also find they no longer need to be as dependent on previous pain medications they may have been taking.
Your prior pain history and medications will be looked at as your provider considers if ketamine infusion is right for you. During the procedure, an IV line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will start with a low dose of ketamine, which may be increased per the provider’s judgment. You will be in a comfortable room with low lighting and are encouraged to relax. Some patients are given anti-anxiety medications to help with this. Plan on about two hours for the whole process, which consists of the actual infusion and the recovery. During the process, your blood pressure and oxygen levels will be monitored constantly and you will remain awake during the whole treatment.
After the treatment you will have to remain in the room for observation. Your blood pressure and pulse will be monitored as staff asks you about your pain. For a few hours after the treatment, you will feel fatigued and disoriented. Someone must drive you home following the procedure.
If you will receive ketamine infusion, you cannot eat at least eight hours before and no liquids within three hours before it. No driving or strenuous activities the day of the procedure, but normal diet can be resumed after treatment. One day after the ketamine infusion you can return to regular activities and work.