Ketamine Infusion Therapy For Small Fiber Neuropathy

Ketamine Infusion Therapy For Small Fiber Neuropathy

Small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is a form of peripheral neuropathy that affects the small nerve fibers in the body, particularly those in the feet and hands. These nerve fibers are responsible for transmitting sensory information, such as temperature changes, pain, and touch, to the brain.

SFN symptoms can manifest as burning, tingling, itching, and numbness in the affected areas. The condition can also cause increased sensitivity to temperature changes and pain that is caused by non-painful stimuli.

It’s estimated that about 53 in every 100,000 people have small fiber neuropathy at any given time.

What Causes Small Fiber Neuropathy?

The underlying causes of SFN can vary widely. Some common causes include diabetes, autoimmune disorders, nutritional deficiencies, and certain medications. Other possible causes include inherited genetic conditions, exposure to toxins, and infections. In some cases, the cause of SFN is unknown.

Available Treatments Options

Without proper care and treatment, SFN can lead to severe impairment and reduced quality of life. Unfortunately, treatment options for this potentially debilitating pain are often limited and may not be effective for everyone.

The most common treatment options for neuropathic pain include pain medicine, such as over-the-counter pain relievers, antidepressants, opioids, and anti-seizure drugs, and physical therapy to help maintain muscle strength and function. In some cases, nerve blocks or nerve stimulation may prove effective in alleviating nerve pain.

Ketamine for Small Fiber Neuropathy

Ketamine is an anesthetic medication that has been used for decades in surgical settings and emergency departments for anesthesia and pain management. In recent years, ketamine has also emerged as a potential long-term treatment for chronic and treatment-resistant pain – particularly pain with a neuropathic component.

In small clinical studies, sub-anesthetic ketamine infusions have shown great success in managing various forms of chronic pain, especially neuropathic pain. Ketamine infusions work by activating opioid receptors and inhibiting the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors (which are thought to be involved in pain perception in the brain), resulting in analgesia.

Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy Safe?

Ketamine infusion therapy is generally considered safe when administered by a medical professional in a clinical setting. Still, some patients may experience some side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and increased heart rate.

The good news is these side effects are mild and temporary, and most patients report feeling better soon after the infusion is over. However, it’s important to note that ketamine is a powerful medication and can be dangerous if abused or misused and should only be used under medical supervision.

The Takeaway

Small fiber neuropathy (SFN) is a type of peripheral neuropathy that affects small nerve fibers in the body, particularly those in the feet and hands. The underlying causes of SFN can vary widely, and treatment options are often limited.

In recent years, ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a potential treatment option for SFN, with studies suggesting it may be effective in reducing pain and improving the quality of life in patients with neuropathic pain and other forms of chronic pain. However, more research is needed to fully understand the effectiveness of ketamine infusion therapy for small fiber neuropathy.

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