Intravenous Ketamine Infusion

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.

The IV Ketamine Infusion Procedure

Intravenous ketamine infusions are usually performed in a hospital setting, though they can also be performed on an outpatient basis. 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. In some cases, the ketamine is administered over the course of several days while the patient remains in the hospital for monitoring.

Recovery from the IV Ketamine Infusion

When the infusion is performed in a hospital, patients may be required to be admitted for several days. There are usually no limitations placed on the patient's activity following the procedure. The infusion process can be repeated, though the patient will need to wait at least 1 month following the initial procedure.

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.

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