Ketamine vs Opioids for Acute Pain in the Emergency Department

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Evan Schwarz, MD FACEP, FACMT Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine Medical Toxicology Fellowship Director Section Chief Medical Toxicology Advisory Dean in the Office of Student Affairs Division of Emergency Medicine Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Schwarz

Evan Schwarz, MD FACEP, FACMT
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Medical Toxicology Fellowship Director
Section Chief Medical Toxicology
Advisory Dean in the Office of Student Affairs
Division of Emergency Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: Ketamine is being increasingly used in the emergency department (ED) for a variety of conditions, including as an analgesic. While its usage continues to increase, there are limited studies evaluating ketamine as an analgesic in the emergency department.

Most of the studies evaluating ketamine utilized it as an adjunct to an opioid, however, multiple recommendations on blogs and other websites recommend ketamine as a single agent. The purpose of the meta-analysis was to compare the analgesic effect of ketamine compared to an opioid in adult patients presenting with acute pain to the ED.

In this study, we found that ketamine was non-inferior to opioids. We also found that the number of severe adverse events to be similar between both groups.

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How Safe Is Ketamine For Sedation in the ER?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lindsay Cohen MD
Department of Emergency Medicine
University of British Columbia

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cohen: In our systematic review of the literature, we sought to synthesize the available evidence on the effect of ketamine on clinical outcomes as compared to other sedative agents in intubated patients. Our outcomes of interest included intracranial and cerebral perfusion pressures, neurologic outcomes, ICU length of stay, and mortality. We included only randomized controlled trials and prospective controlled studies, and identified a total of ten studies that met our inclusion criteria. Due to the lack of homogeneity in the studies, data was analyzed in a qualitative manner. None of the studies reported significant differences between ketamine and other sedative agents for any of our outcomes of interest.

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