Can Ketamine Really Ease Pain in Fibromyalgia Patients?
One of the most debilitating symptoms of fibromyalgia is chronic pain. Because there is no cure or treatment directed at fibromyalgia, patients and their medical teams constantly look for the best treatment options to ease their symptoms. Recent studies, however, show that ketamine could be a possible treatment for fibro patients, and who suffer from other disorders with chronic pain.
First discovered in 1962, ketamine quickly became a player in the world of Anesthetic medicine. For many years, it was used by hospitals as a pre-operative sedative to help patients relax before being put under anesthesia. It was also used in a post-operative care to manage pain and to reduce the number of narcotics patients used.
The connection between fibro and ketamine did not exist until a few years after the drug was discovered. In fact, it wasn’t until after doctors started using the drug to help patients with severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that they started to make the connection between ketamine, fibro and pain management. Patients with RA who deal with significant pain like fibro patients actually have an increased risk of developing fibromyalgia themselves.
Because the use of ketamine in RA successfully blocked the pain receptors in the brain, they reduced the amount of pain signals throughout the body. To researchers, it only seemed logical that the drug would have the same positive effect on fibro patients.
Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that affects the body's soft tissues, causing significant pain in the joints and muscles, which is often referred as pain points. These pain points can cause excruciating pain for the patient. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia are extreme exhaustion, sleep disturbances, restless legs, and cognitive issues, which is most commonly referred to as fibro fog. It can take a while to get an accurate diagnosis of fibromyalgia. And, unfortunately, because fibro is still a "mystery" for researchers and has wide range of symptoms, there is hardly any treatment options that actually help.
Could ketamine be the treatment fibro patients have been waiting for?
Aside from managing pain, ketamine has also been known to boost the immune system and have anti-inflammatory properties. Both of these can have huge benefits in helping those with fibro manage their disorder.
Another quality of the drug is that it has the potential to act as an antidepressant. Patients with fibromyalgia can have a very high risk of depression, as they live with both chronic pain and a disorder that very few people recognize as real. This drug can help patients cope with the negative effects of fibromyalgia. However, researchers need to look into this area thoroughly, as they only found ketamine's anti-depressant qualities in patients who have used it short term.
Read on to see what researchers learned already about ketamine and fibromyalgia.