The process when receiving a Ketamine Infusion

During your consultation with your Pain Matrix Specialist, admission paperwork and patient consent will be signed for your hospital admission. The receptionists at Pain Matrix will then scan your paperwork and notify the hospital that you will be attending for an infusion. A patient information package will be given to you regarding the information you will need for your infusion.

Patient Services at The Epworth Hospital will then contact with you to schedule your infusion stay.  Please note that all infusion bookings are schedule solely through the Epworth Hospital.

What should I expect when having a Ketamine Infusion?

Ketamine Infusions involve delivering a carefully controlled dose around the clock via a small pump. A butterfly needle is placed in the skin of your abdomen so that the ketamine being pumped in forms a small ‘puddle’ under the skin. This puddle is absorbed into the bloodstream, which allows the level of ketamine to rise in a steady fashion. This is called the subcutaneous route of drug delivery.

What dosage will be administered during my infusion?

When you come in for your first trial of ketamine infusion, the starting dose will be very low. This is because some people (less than 1%) are very sensitive to even lower doses. The doses are reviewed every 24-hours and slowly increased until the desired pain relief is obtained, or side effects begin to occur. If you have had an infusion previously, your treating specialist will decide the dosage based upon your previous results and experience.

Are there any side effects?

Due to the slow and steady protocol that we use, side effects are generally predictable and are at the milder end of what ketamine can cause. A feeling of slight sedation, perhaps even some grogginess is common as the dose increases into the range where most people get some benefit. Other side effects caused from high doses of ketamine can include forgetfulness, disorientation and hallucinations. This goes away (as do all the ketamine related side-effects) within a few hours of ceasing the infusion.

Should I continue taking my regular medications?

Unless otherwise advised by your Pain Matrix Specialist you should plan to continue your normal pain relief measures, including medications, while on the ketamine. If the plan for your infusion involves lower doses of your current medications, your pain specialist will supervise these changes during the infusion. You don’t need to worry about trying to reduce or stop medications yourself. Leave that to us!

What can I do during my stay?

While the infusion is running you will be able to walk around, get dressed and mostly do normal things, as the infusion pump can be kept in a small satchel that you wear around your neck. We encourage people to dress in their normal clothes and try to be active around the ward. You can even go out of the ward to the coffee shop to sit and chat with visitors if you like.

How will we know if the infusion has been successful?

During your stay, you will be asked to fill out some questionnaires before starting the ketamine and also on the day you go home. The idea of these is for us to be able to document whether an improvement has taken place and if so, by how much the pain has improved.

Do I need a review appointment?

Throughout your stay at the hospital, your Pain Matrix Specialist will visit you. During this time you will be advised when the specialist would like to see you again for a review appointment. Please call Pain Matrix reception to schedule this appointment 5271 8462.