June 23, 2016 – Ketamine and Pain


Anchor lead:  Could a common and cheap anesthetic also help manage pain? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Ketamine is an agent commonly used for anesthesia during surgery, for both people and animals.  Now a new study suggests that it may help manage postoperative pain.  Kevin Gerold, a critical care medicine expert at Johns Hopkins, says ketamine’s history is well known.

Gerold: Ketamine’s been around and available to anesthesiologist since around 1962 and it’s been widely used as an anesthetic. It’s only recently that we’ve recognized that ketamine in low doses is a very powerful pain relieving medication.   :14

Gerold says ketamine could be used alongside other pain relievers.

Gerold: It clearly reduces the narcotic requirements for reducing postoperative pain. I don’t think that we’ve recognized it as an alternative to narcotics but it certainly decreases the amount of narcotics used and as a consequence reduces side effects of the narcotics, which would be respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting, constipation.  :20

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.