Ketamine is known to provide analgesic effects without an anesthetic when administered in a low dose. We previously reported that a tablet containing ketamine had analgesic effects in patients with neuropathic pain. In the present study, we compared the plasma concentration profiles of the enantiomers of ketamine and its active metabolite, norketamine, up to 8 h after the administration of 20 mg of ketamine by injection, after the administration of two tablets containing 25 mg of ketamine, after the administration of two sublingual tablets containing 25 mg of ketamine, after the insertion of a suppository containing 50 mg of ketamine, and after the application of a nasal spray containing 25 mg of ketamine to three healthy volunteers. The plasma concentration of ketamine biexponentially declined after the administration by injection; the value of T(1/2beta) for ketamine was approximately 120 min. The bioavailability of the tablet was estimated to be approximately 20%; the area under the plasma concentration-time curve, (AUC)(0-->8 h), of norketamine was approximately 500 ng h/ml in both enantiomers. The bioavailabilities of the sublingual tablet and the suppository were estimated to both be approximately 30%; the AUC(0-->8 h) of norketamine was 280-460 ng h/ml in both enantiomers. The plasma concentration profiles of the sublingual tablet and the suppository were almost similar to that of the tablet. The bioavailability of the nasal spray was estimated to be approximately 45%, which was the highest value among the preparations tested, and the AUC(0-->6 h) of norketamine was low (approximately 100 ng h/ml) in both enantiomers. These pharmacokinetic findings suggested that all of the ketamine preparations tested in this study may be useful for the alleviation of neuropathic pain. We propose that the type of ketamine preparation should be selected in accordance with the patient's disease condition and the required dosage amount of ketamine.
Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.