Medical Studies on Ketamine Infusions by Dr. Robert. Ain

Medical Studies on Ketamine Infusions – Ketamine is a drug that is typically used as an anesthetic. It relieves pain and can even cause feelings of relaxation. It has now begun to be used as a fast and effective intravenous treatment for those suffering from depression – even for those who have not responded well to current therapy options.

While many think that the use of ketamine is a new type of therapy, it has actually been used in clinical settings for quite some time now.

Medical Studies on Ketamine Infusions

Dr. Robert Ain and Ketamine infusions solutions

Dr. Ain, a physician located here in Wichita, who specializes in pain medicine, has been conducting ketamine infusions to treat neuropathic and chronic pain for over 15 years. In fact, he is the only physician that the VA has requested to treat injuries and those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has also developed protocol regarding the use of ketamine infusions for Wesley Medical Center in patients dealing with intractable pain (a severe and constant pain that is incurable) who were often required to receive surgical intervention.

Ketamine and treatment for depression

Numerous clinical studies have been conducted to test for ketamine’s potential as a treatment for depression. A recent medical review showed growing evidence of the positive outcomes of the use of ketamine in a clinical setting. The review, which was published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry, analyzed 47 studies of the use of ketamine as a treatment for those dealing with depression.

Studies have found that patients who received ketamine infusions have shown measurable positive changes in the brain’s activity in areas that are associated with the ability to control and process emotions. The drug also enhances how the subject’s brain responds to positive emotions, which also helps to relieve the symptoms of depression. This is believed to be because of the connection of the right-hemisphere caudate to the brain’s reward system.

In some studies, ketamine appears to have reduced the ability to self-monitor which, in turn, can cause “emotional blunting”. The “emotional blunting” can help to increase reward processing and therefore, create feelings of happiness.

A 2014 study published in the Translational Psychiatry journal showed ketamine could quickly reverse anhedonia, a depression symptom which inhibits the ability to experience pleasure.

The subgenual anterior cingulate cortex, which is connected to emotions and cognition, has also been shown to be activated by these treatments. Because of this activation, depression symptoms improved within subjects in as little as 24 hours after a single dose of the ketamine.

Ketamine and treatment for pain

At the 2016 American Academy of Pain Management meeting, the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression, chronic pain, and even migraines, was a heavily discussion topic. Research was presented that showed that small doses (25 milligrams) of ketamine were a safe and effective treatment for those dealing with sudden bouts of severe pain, also referred to as “breakthrough pain”. They also suggested during this meeting that those with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can also benefit from ketamine treatments.

Researchers also discussed the increasing popularity of its use as a treatment for depression over the last several years. They also showed that a dose of 50 milligrams of ketamine was a safe and effective treatment for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. And, since migraines are often a common side effect of this disorder, research has shown that this drug is also a successful treatment for this type of pain.

While the most popular form of ketamine treatment is through intravenous infusions, nasal sprays are also available, in some instances. The nasal sprays are fast-acting, which could become a significant treatment option for those at risk of suicide. Because most standard antidepressants can take 4 – 6 weeks for their effects to be felt, this method of treatment could be lifesaving.

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