Ketamine for Migraine Headaches

Affecting about 37 million Americans, migraine headache attacks can be extremely painful and have a debilitating effect on patients’ lives. Associated with sensitivity to light, sound and smells; nausea; and vomiting, migraines can inhibit patients from going to work or enjoying day-to-day routine.

Those unresponsive to typical migraine treatments may feel particularly discouraged. When first and second-line drugs fail, what is a migraine sufferer to do? Fortunately, ketamine may be the answer!

Ketamine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, has been theorized to be useful in the treatment of pathological & neuropathic pain.  NMDA receptors are important for sensory perception, proprioception, cognition, and consciousness. Ketamine can decrease central sensitization and the “wind up” phenomena associated with neuropathic pain.  Ketamine is lipophilic and rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier. Ketamine also exerts a protective anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the induction of nitric oxide synthase activity. This anti-proinflammatory effect may be responsible for its anti-hyperalgesic effect.

In a study conducted by Dr. Schwenk at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the majority of patients with previously untreatable migraines improved after ketamine treatment. Presented at the Anesthesiology 2017 annual meeting, the study concluded that after three to seven days, 75% of patients experienced an improvement in migraine intensity.

In another study on chronic migraines, low-dose ketamine infusions were administered to patients. Before the treatment, patients’ pain scores ranged from 9-10. Post-treatment, all of the patient pain scores dropped to three or below for 8 hours.  

At Reset Ketamine, we will have an in-depth conversation with you prior to your first infusion to create the best treatment plan for you. Typically, we recommend a series of infusions to relieve your migraine headache. In addition, we may give you a dose of dexamethasone prior to your ketamine infusion because studies have shown this can help reduce the recurrence of migraine headaches.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic migraines, please contact us and schedule your consultation today!