Ketamine and fMRI for Neuropathic Pain

Ketamine and fMRI for Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic or nerve injury related pain (NP), an extremely unpleasant condition that is difficult to treat, often has a severe, persistent, and unremitting course. Conventional treatments are often ineffective in relieving NP. Recently, the investigators have developed a cost-efficient regimen involving use of low dose infusions of ketamine for treating neuropathic pain in patients in whom oral medications have failed. We have observed excellent benefits in many of these patients. However, this treatment requires titration and monitoring during the infusion and currently it is not possible to predict which patients will benefit from this intervention. The investigators have shown that functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain can be used as a tool to predict relief of pain and to assess the effect of treatment in some chronic pain conditions. This innovative project involves development of an fMRI-guided treatment with intravenous ketamine in patients with NP. This study aims to analyze patterns of changes in fMRI of the brain, before and after infusion of ketamine and to correlate the changes with pain intensity. The information from this study will help to deliver this therapy earlier to those patients who are most likely to benefit from ketamine.

Pharmaceutical medication involved
Recruiting patients only


Resting State-functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Protocols involving BOLD (blood oxygen level-dependent) and non-BOLD techniques will be used.

Drug - Ketamine

Part of standard care. To be performed over five consecutive days (Monday to Friday) for six hours per day. A therapeutic range of 0.5 to 2.0 mg/kg/hour is targeted.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Predict and Correlate Clinical Outcomes of Ketamine Infusions for Refractory Neuropathic Pain