DG Journal Club
Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2022 Jul 13
INTRODUCTION : Ketamine is gaining renewed interest among healthcare providers due to its novel clinical applications in the emergency department (ED) setting.
AREAS COVERED : This article provides a comprehensive discussion of ketamine’s pharmacological properties, including safety profile and adverse effects, in addition to an overview of current evidence for ketamine (racemic formulation) in the management of ED patients with acute agitation, pain, and depression/suicide ideation.
EXPERT OPINION : Ketamine is an effective adjunct to opioids, providing greater pain relief than morphine alone. As an analgesic agent, administration of ketamine (0.1-0.3 mg/kg IV) alone can provide analgesia similar to that of morphine in patients with acute visceral and musculoskeletal pain. Moreover, ketamine provides equal analgesic efficacy to morphine in a variety of chronic painful conditions including pain associated with cancer, vaso-occlusive pain crisis associated with sickle cell disease, and in patients with high opioid tolerance and/or opioid dependency. Available literature shows that ketamine (1-2mg/kg IV or 4-5 mg/kg IM) is a safe, rapid (<5 minutes) and effective tranquilization agent for ED patients with acute agitation. Finally, there is growing evidence that suggests ketamine may have a potential utility in the management of patients with self-harm ideation or acute depressive episodes. Intravenous infusion of ketamine (0.5 mg/kg over 40 mins) has been shown to produce an antidepressant effect and decrease in suicidal ideation within 4 hours with effects lasting up to one week.