Ketamine treatment may benefit multiple conditions at the same time. It is not uncommon to find patients who are dealing with multiple types of intractable chronic pain, depression, anxiety, and trauma, and ketamine therapy may help with all these conditions. Ketamine therapy is also useful for many other types of intractable conditions, which presently otherwise have no safe and effective treatment. Ketamine therapy may also help in terms of medication tapering, drug withdrawal states, and reducing tolerance and dependence on opioid medication. Patients with severely painful conditions, who are not able to discontinue opioids, may find the pain medications work much better after undergoing ketamine infusions, as the ketamine will desensitize a patient’s nervous system.
Ketamine is classified as an NMDA antagonist. Many types of medications for pain and depression that are currently being researched utilize this mechanism of action. Ketamine also appears to modulate the opiate receptors in a patient’s nervous system in such a way that physical dependence, addiction, and intolerance is less likely to develop. Ketamine may also serve as a catalyst to improve the efficacy of other treatment modalities, including theta-burst stimulation and medication switching in treatment-resistant conditions.