Ketamine has long been used as an anesthetic in both adults and children for more than 50 years. Although it is still used for anesthesia and also off-label for the treatment of many pain and psychiatric disorders, concerns of possibly deleterious neurocognitive effects have lingered. This is due to sparse reports of children that have experienced neurocognitive delays following multiple surgeries using a ketamine and other anesthetics. Since these occurrences were not associated with any primary endpoints in a clinical study setting, the cognitive delays could not be attributed to ketamine but it did raise the question.
A recent clinical study was conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester (Rochester, New York) and published in the Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine. These investigators designed a clinical trial to monitor neurocognitive function and pain levels in pediatric patients with chronic pain. Patients enrolled in the trial completed 2 weeks of daily oral ketamine exposure. Neurocognitive assessments were conducted at baseline and at weeks 2 and 14. Further, pain levels were assessed using the Numerical Rating Scale.
The researchers found no deleterious effects on neurocognitive function in the children at any time point during the study or for 3 months following completion of the study. In fact, they found that executive function scores improved in children following oral administration of ketamine. These findings support the safe use of ketamine in pediatric patients with chronic pain that is refractory to more conventional medications, such as opioid medicines.
Dr. Hanna’s clinical team at the Florida Spine Institute has used intravenous ketamine therapy to treat pediatric cases of chronic regional pain syndrome with great success. To learn more about intravenous ketamine infusions, click here. To find out if ketamine therapy is right for you, please make an appointment by contacting Dr. Hanna.
For full article, visit the Journal of Palliative Care & Medicine.
Citation: Bredlau AL, Harel BT, McDermott MP, Dworkin RH, Korones DN, et al. (2015) Neurocognitive Changes after Sustained Ketamine Administration in Children with Chronic Pain. J Palliat Care Med 5: 215. doi:10.4172/2165-7386.1000215