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Ketamine infusion is a treatment used for certain types of chronic nerve pain.
Why do I need a ketamine infusion?
Ketamine infusion is a treatment used for certain types of chronic nerve pain. This can include neuralgia and peripheral neuropathic pain anywhere in the body, pain due to nerve damage from scarring or previous injuries, and chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. The treatment is very similar to lidocaine infusions.
Ketamine is a form of local anaesthetic and works by blocking some of the pain signals between nerves and the brain.
The treatment is administered in hospital via an intravenous drip, and you’ll need to not eat any food for six hours beforehand or drink any fluids for two hours prior.
A small needle will be inserted into the top of your hand, with a flexible tube attached to allow the lidocaine solution to be administered. This typically takes around 1-3 hours to complete. Most people will have a number of infusions spread over a couple of years, although this can depend on the results of the initial treatment.
The treatment isn’t painful, although people often feel groggy and out of sorts during the infusion. Some people also experience dizziness and nausea. You will be monitored throughout and for a brief while afterwards, and will need somebody to accompany you home. You won’t be able to drive for at least 24 hours and will probably need to rest for a day or two. There may be some bruising and soreness where the needle was applied, but this should settle fairly quickly. It’s normal to feel more tired than usual after the treatment and may take up to six weeks to feel fully back to normal, but it’s a good idea to resume some gentle physical activity after 24-48 hours. Your consultant will be able to advise on how to manage your recovery.
Ketamine infusion treatment is rarely 100% effective. But many people do experience significant improvements that can last for months. If the treatment is successful for you, you’ll be able to discuss further follow-ups with your consultant.