A new case study shows that ketamine infusions help eased the pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia. RA is an autoimmune disorder that primarily affects joints, causing pain and stiffness in them. Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by widespread chronic pain and increased pain response to pressure.
Both disorders disproportionally affect women, and patients with RA have an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia. RA is currently treated with a number of different medications, however many patients don’t respond to these traditional medications or have medication-related problems that send them seeking alternative methods.
For over 50 years, IV ketamine has been an FDA approved medication, but mainly for aesthetic purposes. The drug works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, which are key to neuronal communication and regulating pain signals. Excessive activation of this receptor can cause toxicity and lead to various pain disorders. Ketamine blocking this receptor can correct this over stimulation.
This case study focused on a 49-year-old woman with RA that didn’t respond to conventional treatment. This resulted in chronic severe pain. The patient also reported muscular pain and met the criteria for fibromyalgia. Treatments such as physical therapy and medication didn’t result in adequate pain management so the study’s lead author used ketamine infusions as an alternative option.
The patient started a 10-day IV ketamine infusion therapy plan. She reported decreased pain after just the first session and was almost completely pain-free after the final session. In addition to reduced pain, she reported no longer experience RA symptoms such as joint pain and stiffness.
The author noted that this was only the first reported case of ketamine for RA, but it’s an important step in looking at how ketamine can be used for a variety of conditions. Many doctors and patients have been hesitant to use ketamine due to its use as a party drug and the stigma around it. However, when used by medical professionals the risk is minimal and the results are promising.
The doctors behind this study know that it’s just one case but hope that it inspires future large-scale clinical trials. In the future, hopefully, ketamine infusions can aid more RA and fibromyalgia patients and provide them some relief from their chronic pain.
Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.