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Ketamine and Migraine

There often is no way of telling when a Migraine could arise, bringing on symptoms like intense pain, nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, and visual symptoms. Triggers aren’t always identifiable. But once settled in, Migraine can stay for up to 72 hours, resisting treatment and costing individuals in days of their lives, time with their families, effective sleep, and hours of productive time. Cumulatively, it costs the American economy over $15 billion.

However, Ketamine’s pain receptor blocking ability could offer hope to the 28 million people or so (75 per cent of them women) who suffer from Migraines. Fifty to eighty per cent of Migraine patients studied have shown some improvement in their pain levels after treatment with intranasal or medically-supervised Ketamine infusion.

In one clinical review reported in MedPage Today, 49 patients in San Diego were tracked and found to have, collectively, received 369 Ketamine infusions on an outpatient basis between the years 2004-09. All of the patients reported improved pain levels, and for over half of them the results lasted at least three weeks at a time.[i]

Eric M Barach, an MD from Michigan,  wrote to Emergency Medicine News to report that Migraine patients who don’t respond to his initial migraine treatments, typically experience “remarkable” results from a 0.02 mg/kg intravenous infusion of Ketamine, reporting significant or complete decreases in pain after one or two minutes of infusion.[ii]

Ketamine is an anesthetic and analgesic that is known to work by binding to the NMDA receptors in nerve tissue found in the brain and throughout the body, preventing the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate, and interrupting the perception of pain. It can be administered in any way, often intranasaly in the case of Migraine. But if administered intravenously, its onset of action is fast, one to five minutes.

In contrast to other Migraine interventions, Ketamine is considered safer. Opiates, for example, can lead to physical dependence, tolerance, constipation and, in large doses, can depress the respiratory system. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, and its primary side effects—nausea, fatigue, sometimes euphoria, hallucinations or an “out of body” feeling—typically don’t last very long beyond treatment. Additionally, Ketamine appears to help reduce tolerance to opiates, reducing the amount of drug required to have an effect.

Ketamine Infusion for Pain Relief Institute (KIPRI) offers the opportunity to break the grip of unrelenting pain with a treatment that has little or no significant side effects or high addictive potential. If you suffer from Migraine pain and feel like you have run out of treatment options, medically-supervised Ketamine therapy could hold hope for taking back your life.




“We believe in the significant benefits of Ketamine intravenous infusions in the treatment and management of a specific subgroup patients with CRPS” who “have failed many abortive and preventive medications,”
Dr Clinton Lauritsen, Headache Fellow, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Philadelphia

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