Ketamine Infusions And What They Can Do For You
Are you living with a major depressive disorder and feeling that your current treatment is not as effective as you would have liked? Or are you having problems with the unwanted side effects of prescription medication? Here at Southwest Pain Management, we want to help people like you! For patients experiencing treatment resistance, we offer specialized and innovative approaches such as ketamine treatment.
Little about Ketamine:
Ketamine is an anesthetic drug with analgesic (pain-relieving), amnesic (short-term memory loss), and sedative (sleep-inducing) properties. Research has shown that Ketamine is a promising treatment for major depression like PTSD and is gaining ground as an alternative to traditional antidepressants. Surveys show that around 16 million adults have suffered from at least one episode of major depression in the USA, which has become the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Recently, suicide rates have been on the rise. More people are now reporting higher rates from different states around the U.S. Ketamine can play a crucial role in helping prevent people from taking their own lives. We can offer hope to those suffering from this debilitating mental health condition with proper medication and rehabilitation.
Moreover, there has been much interest recently in the role of Ketamine as a treatment for chronic pain management. Its low doses produce significant analgesia in the neuropathic pain states by inhibiting NMDA receptors in the central nervous system.
Ketamine Infusions Are Used For:
Medical resistant depression
Chronic pain management
1. Treatment-resistant depression
Ketamine has often been utilized for treatment-resistant major depressive disorders (MDD). If Ketamine is administered to a patient, they can be relieved of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts in as little as 2 hours. Furthermore, a combination of Ketamine infusion with psychotherapy can offer significant improvements in just 24 hours.
2. PTSD treatment
Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by intrusive or distressing memories, dreams, flashbacks, and reactions to internal or external stimuli that resemble an aspect of a traumatic event experienced by the individual. These intrusive thoughts are linked with the hyperactivity of NMDA receptors. Ketamine plays a critical role in treatment since it acts as an antagonist of the NMDA receptors.
Repeated intravenous ketamine infusions can help reduce chronic (PTSD) symptoms. According to a study by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, IV Ketamine infusions can improve this condition rapidly and maintain its effects for several weeks.
3. Chronic pain management
Two specific types of patients are likely to benefit from taking Ketamine daily:
People who are experiencing chronic pain that does not respond to other pain-relieving medications or surgical treatment.
Individuals who want to experience reduced pain once they undergo surgery in the future.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Ketamine has proven to help treat depression and manage chronic pain. Ketamine improves symptoms of depression by functioning through a different mechanism compared to the generic anti-depressive drugs available today – where some work on serotonin uptake and others target other neurotransmitters (e.g., noradrenaline).
Ketamine works by binding to AMPA receptors in the brain to increase glutamate release, which triggers the release of various molecules that help neurons grow and form neural connections. It can affect mood, thought patterns, and cognition, which would explain why patients describe its antidepressant effects as “seemingly coming out of nowhere!”
Ketamine infusion can also help deal with depression in other ways. It also plays a role in decreasing inflammation (which has been linked to mood disorders) or facilitating enhanced communication between specific brain areas. Both of these effects have been observed in patients undergoing ketamine therapy!
Different Types Of Ketamine:
There are two main types of Ketamine compounds:
Racemic Ketamine is an anesthetic that can be given through infusions into the bloodstream or nasal spray. It is most often used to treat the symptoms of depression. This drug comprises two mirror-image molecules: “R” and “S” ketamine. While it was approved decades ago as an anesthetic by the FDA, racemic Ketamine is usually used off-label to treat depression.
Esketamine (Spravato) as a nasal spray is given only in its “S” molecule form. This ingredient provides relief from symptoms of depression by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain that are connected to mood. These medicines can take up to 2 weeks to start showing results.
Although The Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved Ketamine for treating depression, it’s been used often in research trials and even at times in emergency rooms. Trials comparing the different ways of giving Ketamine to patients are ongoing. Some of these approaches affect how effective the drug is; others have side effects. More information about potential risks (and possibilities) needs to be studied and documented before the full potential of Ketamine can be understood.
Things You Need to Know About Ketamine:
A much smaller quantity of Esketamine is present in the solution used to treat depression than what’s usually used during surgery. Just like addictive drugs, Ketamine has some addictive characteristics. So, it’s essential to keep this effect of Ketamine in mind when undergoing Ketamine therapy. It is important to stay in touch with your healthcare provider to ensure maximum safety.
If at any point you’ve abused alcohol or drugs in your past, you should consider an in-depth talk with your doctor and see whether or not ketamine therapy is a viable option to help deal with your depression.
Patients who experience a significant reduction in depression symptoms during the first couple of ketamine treatments may experience long-lasting effects if they continue to take Ketamine without supervision.
Some patients choose to taper off treatment, while others continue taking smaller doses but have fewer sessions overall. There are no proven guidelines for how long this should last or what method would be best for an individual. So consult your physician to get professional medical advice.
Does Ketamine Have Any Side Effects?
Every person who intakes Ketamine will experience some side effects. However, the intensity of these side effects is different for everyone. Some common side effects include:
High blood pressure
Nausea and vomiting
It is also associated with visual disturbances, including an inability to focus (losing situational awareness), illusions, and hallucinations, as well as disruptions of audio and sensory perception.
Some people describe feelings that their senses are heightened, and it may feel like time is slowed down.
On the other hand, some report entirely losing touch with reality, where they feel similar to being on the verge of sleep or going out of consciousness.
There is fear in some individuals that de-personalization can lead to a disassociation with one’s emotions and memories.
Long-term or high dosages of Ketamine may cause some unwanted side effects. Further research is required to study the side effects of Ketamine better.
What Does Clinical Evidence Indicate?
Ketamine is considered an effective option to treat depression. Scientists have discovered that some doses of Ketamine may work better than others for treating depression.
These findings were reported in a study published in 2003 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. In a meta-analysis, researchers found that 3 out of 5 randomized controlled trials found a significant difference between patients who took Ketamine and those given other antidepressants or placebos. The exact reason this occurs isn’t apparent at this point. Still, it is something to consider if you suffer from major depressive disorder and aren’t seeing much relief from currently approved medications.
The FDA monitors the use of Ketamine in conjunction with an oral antidepressant to treat MDD. Esketamine is known to have similar effects as Ketamine in that it acts by interacting with norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine pathways. Still, the effects are not widely agreed upon due to its recent release on the market. This medication is only available via medical office-administered administration due to this being a new drug in the U.S. market. It has caused a significant increase in depression-related patient fatalities simply because there isn’t enough widespread data to gauge how effective this treatment is when used outside of clinical conditions where a medical team can closely monitor depressed patients.
Treatment-resistant depression is a severe illness and is commonly linked to suicides. Depression is revealed to be the leading cause of disability worldwide and the primary mental health disorder that causes people to want to end their own lives every year. So, Ketamine is on its way to saving the lives of thousands of depressive people or those who have PTSD.
Also, evidence proposes that intravenous ketamine infusions provide short-term analgesic effects in patients with obstinate chronic pain.
Fast-Acting Symptom Relief:
Ketamine infusions are often used to treat major depressive disorders like PTSD. Within hours of receiving a ketamine infusion, most patients feel ease in depressive symptoms. Researchers don’t yet understand precisely how Ketamine stimulates widespread and beneficial changes in brain function. Still, they do know that, as the primary neurotransmitter, glutamate seems to play a vital role in these positive changes. Glutamate helps enhance and strengthen neural links and connections in the brain regions most affected by depression.
Lasting Symptom Remission:
Depression is life-altering. It makes everything feel like a struggle and can make even the simplest tasks seem impossible. Ketamine infusions prove to be a significant advancement in treating depression because they work quickly and act as a long-term solution. They require as few as six sessions over two weeks (sometimes just two or three sessions).
Drawbacks of Ketamine infusion:
Although Ketamine offers significant benefits in treating persistent depression, it still has drawbacks. Ketamine is a dissociative sedative given to people taking part in specific medical procedures. The benefits of Ketamine include its ability to relieve symptoms of depression rapidly.
Some of the side effects include hallucinations and dizziness accompanied by floating sensations and blurred vision. These effects are relatively mild, but they can last more than an hour after the administration of infusion therapy. Some patients also report that they feel out-of-body experiences during this period.
It is approved for use only after a comprehensive evaluation, given to you in a certified setting for the benefit of Ketamine, and administered by a licensed provider who will monitor your progress throughout the experience. Ketamine is known for its mild dissociative side effects but can also leave one feeling tired or dizzy (still processing) when it wears off until you’ve had a good night’s sleep.
Ketamine is typically an off-label therapy for those with TRD. Because it has potentially addictive properties, it may not be a suitable option for those with a history of substance abuse or a diagnosed addictive disorder. To find out how Ketamine can help you get your life back, visit the Southwest Pain Management office at 220 O’Connor Ridge Blvd., Suite 105, Irving, Texas 75038, or request an appointment today.
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Robert C. Meisner, M. D. (2019, May 22). Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions. Harvard Health. Retrieved January 9, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketamine-for-major-depression-new-tool-new-questions-2019052216673
Kristen Fuller, M. D. (2021, April 25). Ketamine to treat treatment-resistant depression. Verywell Mind. Retrieved January 9, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/ketamine-to-treat-depression-5114938
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Sinai , M. (2021, January 5). Repeated ketamine infusions reduce symptom severity in individuals with chronic post-traumatic stress disorder. Mount Sinai Health System. Retrieved January 9, 2022, from https://www.mountsinai.org/about/newsroom/2021/repeated-ketamine-infusions-reduce-symptom-severity-in-individuals-with-chronic-post-traumatic-stress-disorder