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How Long Does Ketamine Pain Relief Last? Check It Out!

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Ketamine has emerged as a promising treatment option for a variety of mental health conditions, offering new hope for individuals struggling with treatment-resistant disorders. As a unique anesthetic agent with dissociative and hallucinogenic properties, ketamine has demonstrated remarkable potential in addressing conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain.

In this comprehensive article, we’ll explore the nature of ketamine, how ketamine infusions work, the effects it has on the body, and the potential risks associated with this innovative therapy. By understanding the science and applications of ketamine, we can better evaluate its role in modern healthcare.

Key takeaways:

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic medication used for inducing and maintaining anesthesia.
At lower, sub-anesthetic doses, ketamine has shown potential for relieving various types of chronic pain conditions.
Ketamine works by blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which are involved in pain signal transmission.

What Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?


Ketamine infusion therapy is a general anesthetic agent that was first synthesized in 1962 by American scientist Calvin Stevens. Initially developed as a replacement for the hallucinogenic drug phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine was approved for use in humans by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1970.

Unlike traditional anesthetics that depress the central nervous system, ketamine works by altering the activity of neurons in the brain. It accomplishes this by inhibiting the uptake of various neurotransmitters, including serotonin, glutamate, and dopamine, resulting in an uncoupling of brain activity associated with memory, motor function, sensory experience, and emotion.

How Do Ketamine Infusions Work?

Ketamine infusions involve the intravenous administration of a low dose of the drug, typically throughout 40 to 60 minutes. This method of delivery allows the ketamine to enter the bloodstream directly, bypassing the digestive system and providing a more consistent and controlled dosage.

During the infusion, patients may experience a range of sensations, including a feeling of dissociation, altered perceptions, and even mild hallucinations. These effects are a result of ketamine’s ability to temporarily disrupt the communication between the thalamus and the cerebral cortex, the regions of the brain responsible for processing sensory information and integrating various brain activities.

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How Does Ketamine Affect Your Body?

Ketamine has several key effects on the body, including:

Ketamine is a potent analgesic, meaning it can effectively reduce or eliminate pain sensations.

Ketamine can induce deep relaxation and drowsiness, similar to the effects of other anesthetic agents.

Ketamine can temporarily disrupt the formation of new memories, leading to a state of amnesia during the infusion.

One of the most notable effects of ketamine is its ability to induce a dissociative state, characterized by a sense of detachment from one’s body and surroundings.

These diverse effects make ketamine a unique and versatile therapeutic agent, with potential applications in both medical and psychiatric settings.

Related: Strategies For Pain Relief: An Informative Guide!

How Long Do These Effects Last?

The duration of the effects of a ketamine infusion can vary depending on the individual and the specific dosage administered. Typically, the dissociative and hallucinogenic effects of ketamine begin to subside within 30 to 60 minutes after the infusion is completed. However, the analgesic and antidepressant effects may persist for several hours or even days after the injection.

How Long Do Ketamine Infusions Last?

The duration of a ketamine infusion can range from 40 to 60 minutes, depending on the specific protocol and the patient’s response to the treatment. Medical professionals will closely monitor the patient during this time to ensure their safety and comfort.

See More: Neck Pain From Workout: How To Relieve It?

Risks Of Ketamine Treatment

While ketamine has shown promising results in the treatment of various mental health and pain conditions, it is not without its risks. Some of the potential side effects and risks associated with ketamine infusions include:

1. Dissociation and hallucinations

As mentioned earlier, ketamine can induce a dissociative state and mild hallucinations, which may be unsettling for some patients.

2. Cardiovascular effects

Ketamine can cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate[Quoted From NIH], which may be a concern for individuals with underlying cardiovascular conditions.

3. Respiratory depression

In rare cases, ketamine may depress respiratory function, requiring close monitoring and potential intervention by medical staff.

4. Abuse potential

Ketamine has a history of recreational abuse, and there is a risk of dependence and addiction with prolonged or inappropriate use.

5. Long-term effects

The long-term effects of repeated ketamine infusions are not yet fully understood, and further research is needed to assess the potential risks.


Ketamine infusions represent a promising and innovative approach to the treatment of various mental health and pain conditions. Healthcare providers and patients can make informed decisions about its use and integration into a comprehensive treatment plan by understanding the mechanisms of action, effects, and potential risks associated with this therapy.

As research continues to explore the full potential of ketamine, it is essential to approach this treatment with caution, close medical supervision, and a commitment to patient safety and well-being. With the right protocols and safeguards in place, ketamine infusions may offer a valuable addition to the arsenal of therapies available for those struggling with treatment-resistant conditions.


Q1. How does ketamine work for pain relief?

Ketamine blocks certain receptors in the brain, including the NMDA receptor, which plays a role in pain perception. By modulating these receptors, ketamine can interrupt pain signals.

Q2. What types of pain can ketamine treat?

Ketamine has been used to manage various types of chronic pain, including neuropathic pain, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fibromyalgia, and certain types of headaches.

Q3. Is ketamine treatment safe for pain management?

When administered by trained healthcare professionals in a controlled medical setting, ketamine treatment for pain can be safe. However, like any medication, it does carry some risks and side effects, including dissociation, hallucinations, and changes in blood pressure and heart rate.

Q4. Is ketamine treatment for pain covered by insurance?

Coverage for ketamine treatment for pain can vary depending on the individual’s insurance plan and the specific circumstances of treatment. Some insurance companies may cover ketamine therapy for certain pain conditions, while others may consider it an off-label use and not provide coverage.

Q5. Are there any contraindications for ketamine treatment?

Yes, ketamine treatment may not be suitable for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or a history of psychosis. Healthcare providers need to conduct a thorough evaluation of each patient’s medical history before initiating ketamine therapy.


ScienceDirect(2006) The role of ketamine in pain management Available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0753332206001156

NCBI(2022) Ketamine in Acute and Chronic Pain Management Available online at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539824/

David Mercer

Dr. David Mercer is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and general practice. He has over 20 years of experience working in hospital settings, clinics, and private practice providing comprehensive care to patients.

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