What are Ketamine for Pain Management?

One of the hurdles to treating neuropathic pain is that it does not respond to opioid medications. There has been some success seen with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) including ibuprofen and with some anti-convulsant medication. However, some neuropathic pain conditions are too severe and do not respond to these medications

There have been recent developments to show that ketamine can help with the pain caused by neuropathic conditions. However, there is a stigma that goes along with the use of ketamine, as it is a popular recreational hallucinogenic drug.

Types of Ketamine for Pain Management

For those wishing to use ketamine in pain management, the form is usually as a topical gel. Ketamine is an anesthetic that dulls the nervous response, which makes it appropriate as a topical gel for nerve associated pain.
There has been very little research performed on the use of oral ketamine for pain management. Because side effects of ketamine include hallucinations and psychotic episodes, the medication has a low safety profile for use in ongoing pain management.
Ketamine infusions have become available for some chronic pain patients. Monitored in a hospital setting, ketamine is administered intravenously. An initial dose is given, and then “boosters” or additional doses will need to be administered for the medication to have full effect.

Conditions Related To Ketamine for Pain Management

For those suffering from neuropathic pain, or pain due to damage to the nervous system, the options for treatment are limited. Neuropathic pain may include damage to the nerve fibers or tissues, and is often characterized by a pain that is burning in nature, and may include a numb or tingling sensation.
Neuropathic pain has no overall determinable cause, but has been seen to be linked to shingles, chemotherapy, and diabetes. The condition post-herpetic neuralgia (caused by shingles) is somewhat common among older individuals.


While this treatment is still considered controversial by many it may be an effective treatment for conditions that are not responsive to other medications. Talk to your specialist about whether or not ketamine is right for you.

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