Infusion of… hope?

I stumbled across the treatment of ‘infusions’ sometime ago, and then kept seeing them being mentioned.  I began to try to find out more about them, but information was limited.

I was aware it usually consisted of either Ketamine or Lidocaine being given by an IV, and for some it works really well for pain relief.  For others it seems to do nothing at all.

Eventually a friend kindly offered to search the academic databases he had access to and sent me all the research he could find.  They were generally all positive.

‘Intravenous Lidocaine: An Outdated or Underutilized Treatment for Pain?’ by Gary McCleane stated, “The drug is administered over a relatively short period of time and yet the potential relief lasts significantly beyond both the period of administration and the plasma half-life of this local anesthetic.”  He goes on to state that, “an infusion over a few hours can produce relief that extends to weeks and even months. Consequently, side effects, if any are apparent, are short lived and last for a much shorter time than the pain relief.”

McCleane explained that for many patients undertaking this treatment it becomes their only form of pain-relief, and they’re able to stop all other medications for pain.  A trial of 82 patients found that 82% had a very good pain reduction after their infusion.  In a second study on people with Fibromyalgia it was found that 40% of patients had between 13-18 weeks of relief.

A second study called ‘Efficacy and adverse effects of intravenous lignocaine therapy in fibromyalgia syndrome’ concluded that the therapy “appears to be both safe and of benefit in improving pain and quality of life for patients with fibromyalgia.”

The one downside is that there wasn’t much research on the therapy, and when a study had taken place they had very small sample sizes.  There are also side effects such as hypotension, tachycardia, infections and other such fun times.

I began by asking my GP about them, but she’d never heard of them.   I asked at the various London hospitals I’m under, but was told they didn’t do them.   I came across a number of people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome who’d had them, but it was never at a hospital near to me.

I then visited a pain clinic in another town but they too stated they didn’t do them, and if they did they wouldn’t do it for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome as there weren’t enough of us with it.  (Red flag to a bull!)

I then changed GPs, and she too hadn’t heard of them – but a few weeks later I got a phone call from her.  She explained she’d just had a patient in to see her who’d just had infusions at the hospital in my own town!  She told me to come and see her, and she’d get me referred.

I saw a consultant at the pain clinic last week and she agreed I could have one infusion.  I’m not sure why just one, but still it’s good news!

I’m also due to have facet joint injections in January, so there are two treatments coming up that allow me to have some hope.

IV  Credit to: andyk

An IV
Credit to: andyk

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