New Ketamine Paper published :

Trial protocol for a multicenter randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy and safety of intravenous ketamine for chronic daily headaches: the “KetHead” trial




Chronic daily headaches (CDH) are common and associated with significant morbidity, poor quality of life, and substantial burden on the healthcare system. CDH tends to be refractory to conventional medical management and/or patients cannot afford expensive treatments. It is stipulated that CDH share a mechanism of central sensitization in the trigeminocervical complex, mediated by activation of the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Ketamine, a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, has been used in the treatment of chronic pain, but its role in CDH has not been completely established. This trial aims to evaluate the effect of high-dose IV ketamine infusions (compared to placebo) on the number of headache days at 28 days post-infusion.


A multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial will be conducted with two parallel groups and blinding of participants and outcome assessors. The study will include 56 adults with a CDH diagnosis as per ICHD-3 criteria. Participants will be randomized (1:1) to either ketamine (1 mg. kg−1 bolus followed by infusion of 1 mg. kg−1. h−1 for 6 h) or placebo (0.9% saline in the same volume and infusion rate as the trial medication) bolus and infusion for 6 h. The impact on the number of monthly headache days, headache intensity, physical activity, mood, sleep, quality of life, analgesic consumption, and adverse effects will be recorded at baseline, immediately post-infusion, and from 1 to 28 days, 29 to 56 days, and 57 to 84 days after the infusion


Despite advancements in treatment, many patients continue to suffer from CDH. This trial investigates whether high-dose IV ketamine infusions can effectively and safely improve the CDH burden as compared to a placebo infusion. This treatment could become a safe, affordable, and widely available option for patients living with refractory headache.

Trial registration NCT05306899. Registered on April 1, 2022