More Evidence Ketamine Could Alleviate Migraine Pain

The study involved 61 men who suffered from migraines
Credit
Getty

The study involved 61 men who suffered from migraines Credit Getty

The drug is used to induce general anesthesia but also provides powerful pain control for patients with many painful conditions in lower doses than its anesthetic use.

The study of 61 patients found that nearly 75 percent experienced an improvement in their migraine intensity after a three- to seven-day course of inpatient treatment with ketamine.

A new hospital study says illegal party drug ketamine could ease migraine pain.

The study was presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2017 annual meeting.

According to the NHS, migraines affect 20% of women in the United Kingdom and 1 in every 15 men. A subset of these patients, along with those who suffer from other types of headaches, do not respond to treatment. Beginning in early adulthood, most people only have a migraine occasionally but for others they can occur up to several times a week.

With symptoms including a moderate or severe headache, felt as a throbbing pain on one side of the head, nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or sound, migraines can make attending work hard.

The researchers reviewed data for patients who received ketamine infusions for intractable migraine headaches - migraines that have failed all other therapies.

On average, pain scores - assessed on a scale of zero to 10 - more than halved - from 7.5 to 3.4 after patients were given the tranquiliser.

The average length of infusion was 5.1 days, and the day of lowest pain ratings was day 4. And adverse side effects were generally mild.

Dr. Schwenk said while his hospital uses ketamine to treat intractable migraines, the treatment is not yet widely available.

Schwenk said he could not categorically say that the ketamine was "entirely responsible" for the pain relief, but the initial results were promising.

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