A throbbing headache, nausea, puking, for those who are familiar with these symptoms, they know exactly what I am talking about—Migraines. The crippling pain in your head that makes every light and slight noise seem like hammers banging against your head and make you think that maybe ripping your head off is not a bad idea after all!
I am sure all you chronic sufferers out there have tried everything there is that claims to reduce or stop migraine attacks. Yoga, pills, diet changes, everything, but the result is often disappointing. After a while, you just tend to accept it as something you have to live with for the rest of your life.
But what if I told you that it doesn’t have to be that way? That’s right! Science has once again saved the day and made life easier for the migraine sufferers.
Researchers have discovered something that has turned out to be quite effective in treating migraines in experimental stages. And this miracle is something you have all heard of –Ketamine.
Ketamine. Special K, Kit-Kat. You might know it as horse tranquiliser or for being used as an anaesthetic to put patients under during surgery. Or you might have heard of the wild side of its reputation of being used as a recreational drug. Whatever the case might be, this drug has now garnered a lot of attention from pain specialists for its ability to treat chronic pain.
Ketamine is often injected or taken as a pill or snorted. Its effects are usually defined as being in the K-Hole, which is due to the dissociative or out of body feeling it results in. It is a relaxant and a hallucinogen. It is due to the feeling of euphoria and relaxation it gives that is used to treat depression.
But how exactly does Ketamine help with migraines? Though it is still not clear how exactly Ketamine helps reduce pain, the evidence about its ability to treat it is constantly mounting. Ketamine, used in smaller quantities, is less addictive than other opioid-based treatments. In a study conducted with 61 patients suffering from intractable migraines and who did not respond to any other treatments available, the Ketamine treatment was effective up to 75%!!
The patients were injected with doses of Ketamine over the course of 3-7 days. Before the treatment, the average pain rating was a 7.4 on a scale of 10, which then dropped to a 3.6!
Although the study focused on short-term results, the effective results have paved a way for focusing on a long-term solution as well with a larger number of patients.
But is Ketamine the right treatment for you? Like every other medicine out there, there is certainly a risk associated with this also. Raised heartbeat, high blood pressure, lethargy, bladder issues, ulcers and liver damage are some of the potential side effects of using Ketamine for a long run. Besides these, the cost associated with the treatment is also very high, which might put some people off.
Besides being listed on WHO’s essential medicines list, the use of Ketamine as a medicinal drug still holds a lot a stigma around it. It is only used as a last resort, be for depression or chronic treatment. However, if you are suffering from severe, debilitating migraines and have not responded to any other treatments, you might want to talk to your doctor before trying out Ketamine on your own (Remember, it’s still illegal if not prescribed).
Science has come a long way and I’m pretty sure, we’ll soon have an effective and lasting treatment for crippling migraines. Till then, stay strong and “Konsult” your doctor before changing your medication or making a significant change to your diet. After all, prevention is better than cure.