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IV ketamine infusions are what lead you into a wonderfully peaceful sleep during surgery or similar medical procedures. As a preferred sedative, ketamine is known for its lack of unsavory adverse effects and general patient safety. Unfortunately, it is possible to develop an allergic reaction to ketamine.

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If you are having surgery, you will most likely be given a single dose of ketamine to send you off into the world of sleep. Also used to prevent pain during medical procedures or medical tests, ketamine drugs are commonly used for sedation because of their low likelihood of causing added complications such as a clinical reaction. 

Ketamine works to prevent the processing of sensory inputs by affecting the thalamocortical and limbic systems. This process creates a dissociative state, causing the patient to become unresponsive to physical stimulus and verbal communication. 

The drug ketamine is preferred for shorter procedures as it has a rapid onset and short half-life while allowing the continuation of respiratory function. After being injected into a muscle or a vein, a healthcare provider will monitor your breathing, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and other vital signs.

Can I Develop an Allergic Reaction to Ketamine?

Yes, it is possible to have a ketamine treatment allergy; however, it is very uncommon. 

One example occurred in the 1970s when four articles reported rashes forming as a result of ketamine dosage. Three of these articles concluded with only a 1% correlation between transient rash and pediatric patients with ketamine-induced procedures. The studies determined that the morbilliform rash was a probable adverse drug reaction to ketamine. 

There have also been reported cases of clinical reactions to ketamine consistent with anaphylaxis. For example, one case reported a patient with no significant past medical history diagnosis sedated with intramuscular ketamine. While they did have seasonal allergies and occasionally triggered environmental asthma allergies, the patient did not have any known allergy to over-the-counter pain medication. However, after only two minutes of administration, the patient was afflicted with facial edema and a urticarial rash across the face and torso. She also seemed to have difficulty breathing with associated wheezing and oxygen desaturation while under sedation. Following emergency medical help and other drugs to diffuse the urticarial rash, the patient’s allergy symptoms resolved, and she recovered completely after 30 minutes

Sometimes, ketamine is used alongside other drugs that cause drowsiness or slowed breathing. Such substances include: 

  • Opioid medications; 
  • A sleeping pill; 
  • A muscle relaxer; 
  • Medicine for anxiety or seizures.

Other drugs may affect ketamine and increase the possibility of anaphylaxis when used simultaneously. According to certain studies, anaphylactic reactions only occur with ketamine when it is co-administered with other agents. Instead, adverse drug reactions are more commonly related to immune-mediated hypersensitivity or IgE type I allergic reactions.

Are Allergic Reactions to Ketamine Common?

While uncommon, it is possible to develop an allergic reaction to ketamine treatment. For example, only 1% of those given ketamine develop apnea. Similarly, aspiration, hypotension, and bradycardia only rarely result after the use of ketamine. Case studies have likewise reported instances of reactions to ketamine when used for procedural sedation. 

It is impossible to predict any future ketamine reactions because of its infrequency. Anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction that occurs quickly after exposure, is an even rarer event after ketamine induction. 

While the exact cause of a ketamine allergy still requires further research, it is possible for ketamine medication to either stimulate mast cells and histamine release or cause an LgE-mediated anaphylactic reaction

Regardless of the cause, the results of adverse ketamine reactions are similar, and medical professionals are prepared to utilize epinephrine, diphenhydramine, and steroids to help ease adverse ketamine side effects. That being said, you probably have nothing to fear from ketamine treatment, as the likelihood of you developing an allergic reaction to it is slim.

What are the Common Side Effects of Ketamine Administration?

If you experience a ketamine allergy episode, then you will most likely experience symptoms such as

  • Hives; 
  • Difficult breathing; 
  • Reactions at the injection site;
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. 

Apart from an allergic reaction, there are other common side effects of ketamine administration. It is crucial to call your doctor if you experience any of the following serious side effects

  • Painful or difficult urination, increased urination, loss of bladder control, blood in your urine; 
  • Light-headed feeling or feelings of passing out; 
  • Slowed heart rate or blood pressure; 
  • Weakened or shallow breathing; 
  • Jerky muscle movements or convulsions. 

More common ketamine side effects include confusion or a dream-like feeling. However, this is not an exhaustive list of potential side effects, and you should contact your doctor for medical advice regarding any odd sensations or functions after ketamine injection.

Are You Ready for Your Own Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

With mental health issues increasingly becoming the #1 concern modern health advocates seek to solve, ketamine may just be that solution. But you don’t have to take just our word for it, do your research, then come into Virginia’s premier Ketamine infusion clinic in Leesburg. Send us a message through our contact us page or call us at (571) 371-0290 to connect with our friendly staff and learn more about ketamine infusion therapies and their benefits for your health. If you’re ready for a one-on-one consultation, our office at 19490 Sandridge Way Suite 240, Lansdowne, Virginia 20176, proudly serves Loudoun County and the Ashburn area, so come and let our experts create the best treatment plan for you. We also invite you to keep up with our blog and social media to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about ketamine infusion therapies!

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Phone consultations only take about 15 minutes with a doctor from Virginia Infusion Therapies. Learn more about how ketamine solves for 70% of depression patients and can solve for you.