Myths and Facts About Ketamine

If you’re one of the 50 million Americans who live with daily chronic pain, then chances are you’ve tried every treatment available. Even with a wide variety of treatment options, there’s no guarantee that any of them will work, and oftentimes they don’t.

But there’s one highly effective pain relief treatment you may not have tried: ketamine infusions

Though we’re proud to offer our patients this pain relief solution at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center, Shachi Patel, MD, knows that understanding your treatments is just as important as getting the relief they promise. 

She’s here to dispel the rumors and separate fact from fiction when it comes to ketamine infusions. 

A closer look at ketamine 

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that’s been around since the 1960s, when it was used in the Vietnam War to help ease the pain of wounded soldiers. It also has a scandalous reputation as a popular club drug for its temporary hallucinogenic effects. 

But through the years, ketamine has found a new home in doctors’ offices and is used to treat a wide variety of conditions from depression to chronic pain. 

Ketamine infusions are simple, outpatient procedures in which we insert an IV line into your arm. Once we place the IV, the ketamine solution begins to infuse into your bloodstream. 

We keep a close eye on your heart and blood pressure to ensure your safety. 

Unfortunately, ketamine carries a certain stigma that prevents chronic pain sufferers from getting what could be the answer to their symptoms. Here’s a look at a few common myths about ketamine. 

Myth: Ketamine is mainly for mental health issues

Though it can be an effective treatment for a variety of mental health issues from OCD to depression, ketamine is also an excellent treatment for many types of chronic pain. For instance, cancer patients suffering discomfort after treatment have found relief from their symptoms with ketamine infusions. 

Ketamine may also be an option for you if you suffer from chronic pain conditions like:

Dr. Patel meets with you to discuss your symptoms and medical history before recommending ketamine infusions. If ketamine is right for you, you’ll enjoy fast relief from long-lasting pain that’s been unresponsive to other treatments.

Myth: Ketamine has no side effects

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug and comes with all the symptoms and warnings that accompany controlled substances. Our patients report mild reactions to their infusions, including:

In extreme cases, severe side effects include:

Dr. Patel provides comprehensive aftercare instructions to help you manage any side effects, but we do require that you have a trusted friend or family member present to drive you home after your appointment.

Myth: Ketamine is a street drug and it’s highly addictive.

Ketamine, though it has a reputation as a street drug, has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration for use by doctors for legitimate medical needs. 

In large doses, Dr. Patel uses it as an anesthetic. In smaller doses, she uses it to treat pain and other symptoms and conditions. Improper use and dosage can lead to addiction, but in our clinic, ketamine is administered in small, fast-acting quantities for clinical purposes. 

To learn more about this breakthrough therapy or to schedule a consultation, contact our Newark, Delaware, office.

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