Ketamine alone beats methadone and methadone/ketamine combo for neuropathic pain

July 27, 2017
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Neuropathic pain is notoriously difficult to treat.  Patients are often treated as regular chronic pain patients and many resort to opioids to manage extreme levels of pain. Neuropathic pain can originate from infection, metabolic diseases, chemotherapy, trauma and many other causes.  It is often associated with alterations in pain response such as allodynia and shooting pain.  Mechanisms for these neuropathic pain conditions are poorly understood but emerging research suggests that ketamine can be effective for some patients.

In a recent article published in Pain Physician, researchers conducted a randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, parallel-group clinical trial.  Forty two patients took part in the trial and were randomly assigned to receive oral methadone, ketamine, or methadone and ketamine over a 3-month period. The physician scientists monitored pain levels using a visual analog scale for allodynia, burning/shooting pain, and some side effects.

The researchers found that all treatment options were effective at reducing pain scores by at least 40%.  However, a signinficant improvement in pain was observed in the ketamine-only group compared to both the methadone-only group and the methadone+ketamine group. This difference was most pronounced for the reduction of allodynia.

This study confirmed that ketamine is clinically useful for treating neuropathic pain conditions.

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pain that may be neuropathic in nature, make an appointment at the Florida Spine Institute with Dr. Ashraf Hanna.  Dr. Hanna is a licensed anesthesiologist and Director of Pain Medicine at the Florida Spine Institute.  He has successfully used intravenous ketamine to treat many treatment-refractory conditions including neuropathic pain. If you want to learn more, visit his website and listen to his patient testimonies. You won’t be disappointed!  What are you waiting for?  Make an appointment today!