Lidocaine and Ketamine Infusions


Intravenous lidocaine and ketamine infusions are viable options to treat certain types of pain. Both lidocaine and ketamine provide analgesia or pain relief. Research has shown that these infusions can be successful alternatives to opioids. Many people have found some degree of pain relief with lidocaine or ketamine infusions.


Lidocaine is the most commonly used anesthetic and has anti-inflammatory properties. When given in a low dose intravenous infusions, it may provide relief for various chronic pain conditions, such as neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), etc. Lidocaine infusions may be successful in controlling pain when other pain treatment options have failed. It is also a viable option for pain control in those who are opioid dependent.

While many individuals report immediate and long-lasting pain relief; others describe the relief as slow and lasting only as long as the medication is being infused. Infusion doses are dependent on each individual and diagnosis.

Lidocaine side effects

Potential side effects of lidocaine infusions include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Bruising, swelling or pain at the infusion site
  • Itchy, warm or red skin
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache


Ketamine is a potent anesthetic and is commonly used to induce sleep for surgeries or certain procedures. It may also provide relief for various chronic pain conditions. It blocks pain by acting as a receptor antagonist and resetting glial nerve cells. Ketamine infusions have been known to provide remission in some individuals with CRPS. It has also shown to be beneficial for treatment-resistant depression.

In order for the nervous system to reboot, it is best to be completely opioid free before beginning ketamine infusions. Ketamine typically acts swiftly. After prolonged ketamine infusions, pain relief can sometimes last up to three months.

Ketamine side effects

Ketamine infusions have few side effects if given at a low dose and administered properly. Potential side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Memory problems
  • Panic attacks
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hallucinations

Seek emergency medical help for signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. Serious side effects that should be reported to a health care professional include the following:

  • Painful or difficult urination, or changes in urine
  • Light-headed
  • Slow heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Jerking muscles

Benzodiazepines are often prescribed to minimize side effects. Individuals receiving this type of infusion should be monitored closely, as it is a powerful anesthetic and can possibly cause bladder and renal complications when abused. Those who are opioid-tolerant may be able to receive ketamine as an alternative pain reliever following surgery.


Additional research is needed on the efficacy and safety of ketamine and lidocaine infusions; however, the prognosis is promising. These infusions are becoming a regular treatment option for individuals living with chronic pain.

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