Based on NIH national cancer institute data, there will ab roughly 2.0 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States in 2023. Cancer pain prevalence rates were 39.3% after curative treatment; 55.0% during anticancer treatment; and 66.4% in advanced, metastatic, or terminal disease. Moderate to severe pain (numerical rating scale score ≥5) was reported by 38.0% of all patients. The excruciating pain can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life. Managing cancer pain is a critical aspect of cancer care, and traditional pain management strategies, including opioids, have limitations, such as tolerance and potential addiction. Ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a promising alternative for managing cancer pain. In this blog, we will explore what ketamine infusion therapy is, how it works, and its potential benefits for individuals facing cancer-related pain.

Understanding Cancer Pain

Cancer pain can result from various factors, including the tumor itself, treatment-related side effects, nerve damage, or inflammation. It can manifest as acute, chronic, or breakthrough pain, and the intensity can range from mild discomfort to severe agony. The goal of cancer pain management is not only to alleviate physical suffering but also to improve a patient’s overall well-being and ability to engage in daily activities.

Why IV ketamine is the most effective way to deliver treatment

IV infusion bypass the first-pass metabolism. This means nothing will be lost during its absorption. In a professional term, this is called 100% bioavailability. Bioavailability refers to the proportion of a medication that your body and brain can effectively utilize, which can differ from the amount of medication initially administered. When you take any medication, not all of the active ingredients reach your bloodstream intact; some undergo digestion, transformation into unusable forms, metabolism, and elimination within your body. Of note, receiving a medication intravenously is the only method that ensures 100% bioavailability. Let’s delve into the varying bioavailability percentages based on the route of ketamine administration:

  1. Intravenous (IV): 100%
  2. Intramuscular (IM): 93%
  3. Intranasal: 25-50%
  4. Sublingual (under the tongue): 30%
  5. Oral (by mouth): 16-24%

When ketamine is administered intravenously, we have precise control over the destination of your entire dose. However, this level of assurance cannot be extended to other forms of ketamine administration.

Benefits of Ketamine Infusion for Cancer Pain

  1. Rapid and Long-Lasting Relief: recent data shows that Ketamine infusion therapy often provides rapid relief from pain, making it particularly valuable for patients experiencing severe, acute pain or those who have not responded well to traditional pain management methods. Its maximum analgesic effect was observed between 48 h and 2 weeks post-infusion. Magnitude of pain reduction remained significant until 4 weeks post-infusion with some effect seen as far as 8 weeks out.
  2. Reduced Opioid Dependence: Ketamine can offset the Opioid Induced Hyperalgesia (OIH) that is commonly seen in chronic high dose patients. It reduces the total dosage that is needed for pain management, reducing the risk of opioid dependence and its associated side effects.
  3. Enhanced Mood and Mental Health: Cancer pain can take a toll on a patient’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life. Ketamine is extremely effective for mood disorders. Its antidepressant and anxiolytic properties can help address these emotional challenges, promoting overall well-being.
  4. Improved Functional Abilities: Effective pain management with ketamine can enable patients to engage in daily activities, maintain their independence, and enjoy a better quality of life during cancer treatment.
  5. Potential Synergistic Effects: Ketamine infusion therapy can be used alongside other pain management strategies, enhancing their efficacy and potentially allowing for reduced doses of other medications. Read more…

Considerations and Precautions

While ketamine infusion therapy holds promise for cancer pain management, it’s important to note that its use should be guided by a healthcare provider experienced in pain management and ketamine administration. Patient selection, dosing, and monitoring are crucial aspects of ensuring the therapy’s safety and effectiveness.

For your loved one

Cancer pain is a complex and challenging aspect of the cancer journey, affecting not only the body but also the mind and spirit. Ketamine infusion therapy offers a valuable alternative for individuals grappling with cancer-related pain, providing rapid relief, reducing opioid dependence, and improving overall well-being. As medical research continues to explore the potential of ketamine in pain management, it offers hope to those facing the difficult battle against cancer and its associated pain.

If you or a loved one is dealing with cancer pain, consult with our clinic to discuss the potential benefits of ketamine infusion therapy as part of your comprehensive pain management plan. Read more…

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