Philly Smart Pain now offers ketamine infusion therapy to address the most challenging pain conditions. This treatment option fits into our efforts to personalize care and find the right treatment options for each of our patients.

Ketamine is a safe, FDA approved anesthetic medication. It was synthesized in 1962 and found to have the potential to work as an ideal agent to provide anesthesia. It can cause unconsciousness during surgery while at the same time, it treats pain and does not suppress breathing or blood pressure.

Ketamine works by blocking the NMDA receptor in the brain which causes a temporary dissociation from the mind and sensations in the body. We find in our experience that infusions allow a “reboot” of the system and help take control over the vicious cycle of pain. The infusions are effective at lower doses needed for surgery.

This therapy has proven remarkably effective in treating neuropathic pain, or pain due to nerve damage that is seen in conditions such as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS, formerly called RSD). We use this therapy as an option when other therapies have failed or to manage a “flair” in pain such as when the pain intensity spikes up and becomes out of control.

In addition, research has demonstrated that ketamine has been very effective for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

The infusion is performed in the office over a 1-2 hour infusion through an IV. You will have a nurse closely monitoring vital signs and ensuring that you are safe and comfortable during the infusion. S. Most patients bring headphones and music during the treatment session.

We recommend performing a series of 3 weekly infusions to gain maximal effect and to combine this with other therapies such as sympathetic nerve blocks, physical therapy, developing pain coping strategies and other strategies to manage symptoms.

Ketamine does have side effects such as nausea, increased salivation, and dizziness. Since ketamine is an anesthetic medication, it will alter your coordination and thinking. Even though this effect wears off at the end of the infusion, a driver is mandatory.

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