How Ketamine Helps Treat Migraine Headaches

How Ketamine Helps Treat Migraine Headaches

If you’ve ever had a migraine headache, you know how difficult they can be to treat. However, recent research indicates that Ketamine has demonstrated potential in offering relief. 

For instance, a case series featured in the December 2016 edition of the Journal of Headache and Pain reported that six individuals who underwent IV ketamine treatment experienced temporary reductions in pain severity associated with chronic migraines.

How Does Ketamine Relieve Migraine Headaches?

Due to the intricate nature of treating migraine headaches, medical experts are closely monitoring the potential of ketamine for pain management. Beyond its recognized role as a pain reliever, application in treating depression, and anesthestic abilities at higher doses, healthcare professionals are now investigating the use of lower ketamine doses as a viable option for addressing migraine headaches.

Ketamine emerges as a promising alternative for individuals who endure migraines and have not found success with other therapeutic approaches. Typically, those who respond most positively to such treatments experience intense, chronic migraines. These patients usually rate their pain levels between three and ten on the pain scale upon discharge, in contrast to their pain levels exceeding seven prior to treatment. Following days of enduring such high pain levels, patients are eager for relief.

According to findings in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Current data from short-term infusions reveal that ketamine elicits potent analgesia solely during its administration, while three studies on the effects of extended infusion (4–14 days) demonstrate lasting analgesic effects for up to 3 months post-infusion. In lower doses, ketamine proves effective in delivering relief because of its potent analgesic effects during episodes of neuropathic pain.

Exploring Ketamine’s Potential for Migraine Relief: Recent Research

For those suffering from chronic migraines, finding rapid relief becomes paramount. But what if you find yourself in the group of patients who don’t find relief from conventional treatments? Is there another treatment that works? Emerging data suggests that if you’re part of this patient cohort, ketamine treatments might hold the key to alleviating your suffering.

Consider, for instance, the retrospective analysis undertaken by Thomas Jefferson University, as published in Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medicine 2018. Over a span of three years, the study examined sixty-one patients who underwent five-day intravenous ketamine therapy sessions. 

Patients with a pain rating of two were monitored during follow-up visits. Among the sixty-one participants, an impressive forty-eight responded positively to the treatment, resulting in a 77% success rate, with 40% experiencing sustained relief. Intriguingly, research shows that ketamine can provide rapid relief to some patients within just an hour.

According to Dr. Eric Schwenk, Director of Orthopedic Anesthesia at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, “Ketamine may hold promise as a treatment for migraine headaches in patients who have failed other treatments.” This stems from ketamine’s role as an NMDA antagonist, which translates to its ability to block pain pathways. Additionally, there’s evidence suggesting that ketamine can decrease glutamate activity. As the brain’s primary excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate is intricately linked to migraine pain.

During the American Academy of Pain’s annual meeting in 2016, discussions were centered around the application of ketamine for migraine headaches, featuring separate sessions on the topic. Dr. Duren Michael Ready presented findings from his research, highlighting that a 25-milligram dose of ketamine nasal spray notably reduced the severity of migraine aura. Furthermore, his presentation pointed out that doses ranging from 10 to 50 milligrams were safe for patients experiencing abrupt surges of pain, often referred to as “breakthrough pain.” Ketamine stands out due to its ability to counter the “hyperexcitability” often associated with chronic pain, migraines, and various other pain-related conditions.

Another study, featured in the Journal of Emergency Medicine, explored the potential of ketamine infusions for the treatment of refractory headaches. This study involved seventy-seven patients receiving ketamine treatments, with sixty-three suffering from chronic migraines and fourteen from recent persistent headaches daily. The findings indicated that Subanesthetic ketamine infusions may be beneficial in individuals with chronic migraines or new daily persistent headaches who have not responded to other aggressive treatment options. 

In general, around 40% of patients experience sustained pain relief lasting from thirty to one hundred days following ketamine treatments. Notably, the vast majority (about 95%) of these beneficiaries were individuals experiencing chronic migraines.

As more data is compiled, patients can gain insight into potential side effects associated with ketamine treatments. Armed with this knowledge, they can engage in meaningful discussions with their physicians during the first follow-up appointment, typically scheduled within one to three months after inpatient treatment.

Finding Relief That Actually Works

Those who experience migraines know just how painful and serious they are, characterized by intense pain that can persist for days, disrupting daily life. According to the Migraine Research Foundation, around one in four U.S. households has a member affected by these debilitating headaches. These figures highlight that more than four million individuals endure chronic migraines on a daily basis.

When struggling with the severe pain of a migraine and its accompanying symptoms like dizziness, nausea, visual disturbances, vomiting, and heightened sensitivities to light, smell, or touch, seeking fast relief becomes vital. These statistics serve as a stark reminder of the importance of finding effective solutions for those living with chronic migraine headaches.

Given these circumstances, the quest for relief that not only offers fast relief but also lasting benefits becomes a top priority for individuals plagued by migraines. Consulting with a treatment specialist to explore the potential of ketamine therapy for managing migraine headaches is the first step. Get in touch with us today for information on how you can overcome migraine headaches. 

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