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You may have heard about these and wondered what they were or how you would get one? The information provided here should be enough to give you a rough idea of the basics.

These infusions are only administered by a Consultant Anaesthetist in a hospital or clinic setting with resuscitation equipment on hand for any possible adverse reactions.   But don't let that scare you - it's hugely rare for any such reaction to occur to require such measures, but doctors like to take no chances.  You would normally have attended for a visit to discuss your pain problems and requirements with the doctor, who may feel that the treatment is one option for you to consider. They will advise on whether perhaps you should try other oral drugs first and if lignocaine is considered, you may be offered a 24-hour overnight home infusion or other shorter acting dose, to see whether you have any problems before considering the heavier 6-hour one.

Currently it is only available (as a 6-hour infusion) through private facilities in N. Ireland, although some Pain Clinics will offer a 1-hour one, but this has very limited duration of effects.  Cost will vary between £65 to £600 upwards depending on who you attend. Details of those doctors providing infusions can be obtained from FMSNI if you phone the S/L during the week or write in.  Major hospitals elsewhere in the UK should equally provide the facility although you may have to travel a bit to find one.  The primary one of interest is the Dudley Group who were one of the first to undertake a major study into its effects where fibromyalgia was concerned.

Lignocaine infusions are purely just a 'drip' of the local anaesthetic agent lignocaine (same as you get at the dentists or for minor surgery), mixed into the normal saline drip you would obtain if dehydrated. The dose of drug varies from patient to patient depending on requirements and weight etc. Additional drugs may be added in e.g. magnesium if the Consultant feels these may provide additional endurance of the efficacy of the infusion. This would be considered a 'day case' treatment so you need to be prepared to arrive early to the clinic and take with you anything you want to keep you occupied (within reason). Also take a solid packed lunch and other food with you as meals may or may not be provided depending on the center - worth checking in advance. If you have to take a lot of oral drugs normally you are best advised to ensure you have plenty to eat to take them with.  Use this as a good rest day and an opportunity to catch up on writing if you can manage it, or reading books etc. If you have any sort of irritable bladder normally, I would suggest you take plenty of cranberry juice on the day before and day of the infusion which may settle things down enough - any drip will have you hitting the loo hourly if you're drinking plenty too. For the procedure you will have a plastic "butterfly" cannula inserted via a needle into a vein which shouldn't cause too much pain unless you're normally prone to problems with your veins. Most docs will try and position it in a vein which will allow you maximal use of your arm/hand through the day. The infusion runs in at a relatively slow pace similar to normal 'drips' because of the inherent dangers involved with such a drug - you will be monitored carefully throughout for changes in your heart rate or BP etc and you may experience a number of varied side effects ranging from a feeling of heat to being extremely lightheaded and nauseated - actually considered to be good signs surprisingly. Your doctor will advise you on what to expect and ensure you advise them of any adverse reactions as early as possible. Be particularly careful near the end of the infusion as by then you will most likely experience maximal side effects, if any, such as lightheadedness, dizziness, perhaps nausea etc. You may even find your pain increasing through the day, but that may be as much from the restriction of movement as anything else.

Lignocaine works systemically (throughout the body) in a similar manner to locally by blocking particular pain receptors and thus diminishing the pain signal from any area of the body. However, it can take some time for it to 'kick in' and efficacy duration ranges from a few days to 6 months or more in certain people. You should be aware that some people say they get absolutely no benefit whatsoever from it, and high expectations can be difficult to meet, so be realistic as far as possible and prepared for that possibility.
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