Ketamine is a medication that has historically used for starting and maintaining anesthesia for surgery. This medication has been especially helpful because of its ability to preserve breathing and airway reflexes, stimulated heart function with increased blood pressure, and moderate bronchodilation. However, at lower doses, ketamine is a promising agent for pain.
For chronic pain, ketamine is used as an intravenous analgesic. This is especially helpful for nerve related pain. In multiple clinical trials, ketamine infusions showed significant pain relief for patients who have had traumatic spine injury, cancer pain, fibromyalgia, and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
Patients typically have improved mood in as little as 4 hours. The results may last up to a month or more. For patients with severe depression, it is important for the patient to work with a psychiatrist to form the best individualized treatment plan.