Ketamine works differently than any other traditional medications. Imaging studies have suggested that ketamine may work by literally repairing the neural pathways of the brain. This allows for electrical and neurotransmitters to flow more smoothly in the brain circuits, leading to an increase in the brain’s functional capacity and decrease in symptoms. This helps explain why patients that undergo ketamine infusion therapy experience positive effects that last for weeks and months, long after ketamine has been flushed from their systems.
About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Low-dose sub-anesthetic ketamine is used to treat various chronic pain syndromes, especially those with a neuropathic component, and a single intravenous infusion has been shown to lead to long-term analgesic effects lasting several months. Ketamine may also alleviate pain-associated depression and the adverse effects associated with opioid treatment, and may thus represent an attractive adjunct therapy for pain management.