Together for Short Lives
Call the Helpline 0808 8088 100

Oral ketamine for children with chronic pain: a pilot phase 1 study

Journal title
The Journal of pediatrics
Publication year
Bredlau, A. L.; McDermott, M. P.; Adams, H. R.; Dworkin, R. H.; Venuto, C.; Fisher, S. G.; Dolan, J. G.; Korones, D. N.
194-200 e1

OBJECTIVE: To assess whether oral ketamine is safe at higher dosages for sedating children and whether it may be an option for the control of chronic pain in children. STUDY DESIGN: A prospective study was performed on 12 children with chronic pain to identify the maximum tolerated dosage of oral ketamine. Participants were given 14 days of oral ketamine, 3 times daily, at dosages ranging from 0.25-1.5 mg/kg/dose. Participants were assessed for toxicity and for pain severity at baseline and on day 14 of treatment. RESULTS: Two participants, both treated at 1.5 mg/kg/dose, experienced dose-limiting toxicities (sedation and anorexia). One participant, treated at 1 mg/kg/dose, opted to stop ketamine treatment due to new pain on treatment. Nine participants completed their course of ketamine treatment. Of these 12 children, 5 experienced improvement in their pain scores, 2 with complete resolution of pain, lasting >4 weeks off ketamine treatment. CONCLUSION: Oral ketamine at dosages of 0.25-1 mg/kg/dose appears to be safe when given for 14 days to children with chronic pain.

Research abstracts