Nav: Home

One in three pain patients suffer side effects after ketamine infusion therapy

October 21, 2019

ORLANDO, Fla. - As the opioid epidemic continues to devastate the United States, ketamine use has grown as a pain management alternative, yet more than one in three patients may experience side effects such as hallucinations and visual disturbances, suggests new research presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2019 annual meeting.

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that is also used to treat acute and chronic pain and depression. While the drug is known for some side effects that negatively affect mental status, there are many other potential risks. Recent consensus guidelines from the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, American Academy of Pain Medicine and American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) support ketamine infusion therapy for acute pain management, but the groups note more studies are needed to determine the best approach for using it safely and effectively.

"Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of ketamine for multiple uses, including general anesthesia and treatment of depression, the effects of using the drug at low doses to treat pain have not been extensively studied," said Padma Gulur, M.D., lead author, member of ASA's Committee on Pain Medicine and professor of anesthesiology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. "Our research aimed to determine both short- and long-term side effects of low dose ketamine when used for pain treatment."

Researchers conducted a review of side effects related to ketamine infusions for pain management. Reported side effects were categorized into two groups: those directly linked to ketamine (hallucinations, vivid dreams, out-of-body experience and/or unusual thoughts) and those associated with using ketamine in combination with other drugs (sedation, visual disturbances and urinary dysfunction).

Of 297 Duke University pain patients who received ketamine infusion therapy between January and June 2017, 104 (35%) reported significant side effects. Twenty percent of these patients suffered side effects directly linked to ketamine, while 15% experienced side effects associated with the use of ketamine in combination with other drugs.

"Although the opioid epidemic has prompted the medical community to thoroughly investigate pain management alternatives, our number one priority is to ensure the safety of patients receiving ketamine," said Dr. Gulur. "More than one in three patients reported significant side effects from ketamine infusions that required ongoing monitoring or resulted in discontinuation of therapy. More research on the impact of ketamine use for pain on the population is needed."
-end-
THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF ANESTHESIOLOGISTS

Founded in 1905, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) is an educational, research and scientific society with more than 53,000 members organized to raise and maintain the standards of the medical practice of anesthesiology. ASA is committed to ensuring physician anesthesiologists evaluate and supervise the medical care of patients before, during and after surgery to provide the highest quality and safest care every patient deserves.

For more information on the field of anesthesiology, visit the American Society of Anesthesiologists online at asahq.org. To learn more about the role physician anesthesiologists play in ensuring patient safety, visit asahq.org/WhenSecondsCount. Join the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2019 social conversation today. Like ASA on Facebook, follow ASALifeline on Twitter and use the hashtag #ANES19.

American Society of Anesthesiologists

Related Pain Articles:

It's not just a pain in the head -- facial pain can be a symptom of headaches too
A new study finds that up to 10% of people with headaches also have facial pain.
New opioid speeds up recovery without increasing pain sensitivity or risk of chronic pain
A new type of non-addictive opioid developed by researchers at Tulane University and the Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System accelerates recovery time from pain compared to morphine without increasing pain sensitivity, according to a new study published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.
The insular cortex processes pain and drives learning from pain
Neuroscientists at EPFL have discovered an area of the brain, the insular cortex, that processes painful experiences and thereby drives learning from aversive events.
Pain, pain go away: new tools improve students' experience of school-based vaccines
Researchers at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) have teamed up with educators, public health practitioners and grade seven students in Ontario to develop and implement a new approach to delivering school-based vaccines that improves student experience.
Pain sensitization increases risk of persistent knee pain
Becoming more sensitive to pain, or pain sensitization, is an important risk factor for developing persistent knee pain in osteoarthritis (OA), according to a new study by researchers from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) School of Rehabilitation and Hôpital Maisonneuve Rosemont Research Centre (CRHMR) in collaboration with researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM).
Becoming more sensitive to pain increases the risk of knee pain not going away
A new study by researchers in Montreal and Boston looks at the role that pain plays in osteoarthritis, a disease that affects over 300 million adults worldwide.
Pain disruption therapy treats source of chronic back pain
People with treatment-resistant back pain may get significant and lasting relief with dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation therapy, an innovative treatment that short-circuits pain, suggests a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY® 2018 annual meeting.
Sugar pills relieve pain for chronic pain patients
Someday doctors may prescribe sugar pills for certain chronic pain patients based on their brain anatomy and psychology.
Peripheral nerve block provides some with long-lasting pain relief for severe facial pain
A new study has shown that use of peripheral nerve blocks in the treatment of Trigeminal Neuralgia (TGN) may produce long-term pain relief.
How do you assess pain in children who can't express themselves? New research identifies priorities in identifying pain in nonverbal children with medical complexity
Pain is a frequent problem for children with complex medical conditions -- but many of them are unable to communicate their pain verbally.
More Pain News and Pain Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#543 Give a Nerd a Gift
Yup, you guessed it... it's Science for the People's annual holiday episode that helps you figure out what sciency books and gifts to get that special nerd on your list. Or maybe you're looking to build up your reading list for the holiday break and a geeky Christmas sweater to wear to an upcoming party. Returning are pop-science power-readers John Dupuis and Joanne Manaster to dish on the best science books they read this past year. And Rachelle Saunders and Bethany Brookshire squee in delight over some truly delightful science-themed non-book objects for those whose bookshelves are already full. Since...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab