Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the brain and spinal cord nerve cells. Over time, ALS causes these cells to die, which leads to muscle weakness and paralysis. There is currently no cure for ALS, but treatments available can help improve the quality of life for patients. One such treatment is ketamine infusion therapy.
Although we still don’t fully understand what causes this damage, some factors that may play a role include genetics, age, exposure to certain toxins, or changes in specific proteins.
Signs and Symptoms of ALS
The symptoms of ALS often start gradually and can include
- Muscle weakness
- Stiffness and twitching
- Loss of mobility
- Slurred speech
- Loss of ability to breathe, chew or swallow
ALS affects muscles in the arms, legs, mouth, throat, and vocal cords. As the disease progresses, many patients eventually lose the ability to move or speak and require care for everyday tasks such as eating and dressing.
Understanding Ketamine Infusion Therapy
Ketamine infusion therapy is a type of medical treatment involving small, controlled doses of ketamine into the body through an IV. Ketamine treats several mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While ketamine infusion therapy is most commonly used to treat mental health conditions, it has also shown great promise as a potential treatment for physical ailments like ALS. In a small study, ketamine effectively reduces discomfort and preserves nerve cells in ALS, effectively slowing down the progression of the disease.
How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Help With ALS?
ALS has no cure, but several treatments available can help manage symptoms and slow down its progression. One such treatment is ketamine therapy, which has shown promising results in clinical trials.
Ketamine infusion therapy works by inhibiting the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. NMDA receptors are essential for learning and memory function. However, the overactivity of NMDA receptors has been linked to the dysregulation of certain neurotransmitters, leading to the death of nerve cells observed in ALS. Inhibiting NMDA receptors with ketamine treatments prevents neuron death and may help to preserve motor function in ALS patients.
Ketamine’s ability to provide long-term relief from chronic pain-associated nerve damage further compounds its usefulness as a treatment option for ALS patients. Overall, ketamine infusion therapy holds great potential in helping to improve the quality of life for people with ALS.
The Bottom Line
Ketamine infusion therapy is a promising treatment option for people living with ALS. While more research is needed to determine the long-term efficacy of ketamine infusions for ALS, preliminary studies have revealed good results.
Ketamine can also be used alongside physical therapy and other treatments to provide a more comprehensive approach to managing the symptoms and progression of ALS. If you or a loved one is living with ALS, talk to your doctor about whether ketamine infusion therapy may be right for you.