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Ketamine and Its Impact on Chronic Pain and Depression

Ketamine and Its Impact on Chronic Pain and Depression

Ketamine is a somewhat controversial drug and has had its fair share of ups and downs in terms of its reputation within the medical community. A lot of the stigma comes from the fact that it is a derivative of PCP, while this has connotations of recreational drug usage. This narrow reading misses a lot though and for many who have built up a tolerance or don’t respond to standard opioids or antidepressants, ketamine can offer significant benefits for treating chronic pain and even depression.

In this article, we’ll explore some of those possibilities and what the drug means for pain management in Oregon, Ohio and depression treatment more generally.

Ketamine’s Role in Pain Management

Traditional pain management methods after an operation involve using various opioids to provide temporary relief and give the body a chance to repair itself. Unfortunately, there is a non-trivial portion of the population who has built up a tolerance or doesn’t respond well to opioids. These people can experience nausea, vomiting, and other negative side effects from these well-known pain medications. Ketamine has proven itself a more than viable substitute here, providing similar relief but using a different mechanism. This sidesteps the opioid issues and offers an alternative for those who can’t take standard pain medication. That is why it is important to connect with a pain doctor in Toledo, Ohio who can immediately determine the approach fit to address your pains.

For patients who have built up high a tolerance to opioids, ketamine can be an integral part of a tapering program. The pain relief provided by ketamine infusions allows dependency on opioid medications to be reduced or completely eliminated.

Modern studies have shown results that have led the medical field to consider ketamine’s wider potential– specifically when treating chronic pain. For people who don’t respond well to opioids, this has come as a welcome addition to the toolkit. Studies have shown good results with a range of different conditions, including cancer, SRPS, fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, phantom pain, sickle cell disease, spinal injuries, and more.

While ketamine cannot help in every instance, the drug’s nature means that it targets a very specific set of receptors, and patients in pain who have not had success with other treatments will often benefit from having those particular receptors activated. While it doesn’t work for everyone, this can be a great way for introducing chronic pain treatment to those who need it.

If you haven’t seen success with other pain condition treatment in Perrysburg, Ohio, reach out to us at (419) 843-1370 for more information.

When is Ketamine Not Suitable?

Ketamine infusion therapy is certainly not a one-size-fits-all solution, and its usage needs to be carefully monitored and prescribed with great care. Patients with cardiovascular issues, liver disease, elevated intracranial pressure, and glaucoma are definitely not good fits for the drug.

Physicians who specialize in pain management in Toledo, Ohio, use it sparingly and only in those cases where more mainstream pain medication and treatments fail to provide results.

Does Ketamine Help with Depression?

Ketamine has proven to be a valuable asset for those people who struggle with treatment-resistant depression in recent years. Doctors and researchers have found that a medically-supervised protocol can help those who don’t respond to standard anti-depressants. It’s still a relatively new concept for many, but the research continues to advance year after year.

Ketamine targets NMDA receptors inside the brain. By targeting these receptors, ketamine is able to treat patients resistant to standard antidepressants. The sub-anesthetic dosage given during ketamine infusion therapy produces rapid and long-lasting antidepressant effects.

After a series of six infusions, NorthWest Ohio Ketamine Clinic has seen a success rate of over 80%. Patients have seen a mean decrease in CUDOS score (a measurement of depression) of 74%, decreasing from 35.0 to 11.2 on average. Successful patients have an improvement in their CUDOS score from averages of 34.9 to 8.9.

There are various risks that come with ketamine infusion therapy, and that’s why having one of our anesthesiologists oversee it being administered is so important. A nurse will regularly check on each patient throughout the infusion, and their levels will be constantly monitored. Ketamine has been shown to provide benefits for those struggling with suicidal ideation and other more serious cases of depression.


Ketamine has a checkered history, but modern research is showing that the drug should not merely be written off as a recreational one. The medical interventions thus far have proven that there is a tremendous benefit to be unlocked for those people who don’t respond well to traditional pain medication or antidepressants. While some still worry about its long-term effects, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic for surgery for decades, with little to no negative side effects.

The success of ketamine is indicative of a wider movement within medicine itself where we are heading towards more personalized medicine rather than a generic approach. Understanding where a patient is at physically and mentally and then prescribing something that works for their unique circumstances is the end goal we are aiming for. Ketamine offers a valuable asset in this regard and is quickly becoming an asset for more and more people.

When it comes to depression specifically, it should still be combined with traditional therapy to get the full benefit – but it can’t be denied that it represents exciting new territory in a time where mental health is more important than ever.

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