Intravenous Infusion Therapy
Intravenous (IV) infusion therapy is a treatment option for a variety of different pain syndromes including such conditions as fibromyalgia, neuropathic pain, phantom limb pain, post-herpetic neuralgia, complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS), diabetic neuropathy, and central pain related to stroke or spinal cord injuries. The medication infusions can also be used in special occasions for the treatment of severe depression and refractory headaches.
A variety of different medications can be used for infusion therapy:
One or more of the indicated medications are typically mixed into a saline infusion bag and slowly infused into a peripheral vein.
Your physician will select the appropriate medication and dose to be used in the infusion depending on your diagnosis and the type of pain you are experiencing. An intravenous catheter will be placed in your arm or hand and then the medications will be infused over a standardized amount of time. You will be monitored throughout the infusion period.
IV Infusion Medications
Lidocaine blocks the sodium channels in the neuronal cell membrane that may potentially play a role in the pathogenesis and maintenance of both neuropathic and inflammatory pain.
Ketamine is an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) Receptor antagonist that decreases sustained neuronal depolarization as well as excitatory transmission along afferent pain pathways in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord.
Clonidine is an α2-adrenergic receptor agonist that is believed to reduce of norepinephrine release from the α2-adrenergic in the peripheral nervous system.
Magnesium works as a competitive NMDA receptor antagonist that decreases both acute and chronic pain by stabilizing abnormal nerve excitation.
IV Infusions were first introduced as a treatment for pain in 1963 using lidocaine. Since then several studies using different medications have shown benefit in treating patients with chronic pain. The goal of therapy is to substantially decrease your level of pain and make you more functional over the long term.
As with any medical procedure, there is always a risk of potential complications. The most common complaints one might experience with infusion therapy are associated with the medication being used. In most cases, the symptoms or side effects will abate once the infusion is completed or stopped.
There are a number of scientific studies and clinical impressions supporting the use of IV infusions for the treatment of variety of different types of pain.