Ketamine mouthwash for mucositis pain

J Palliat Med. 2009 Nov;12(11):989-91. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2009.0198.


Purpose: Our objective was to determine if an oral ketamine swish and expectorate was a safe and effective method to alleviate mucositis pain.

Methods: A retrospective chart audit was preformed on eight patients who received ketamine mouthwash (20 mg/5 mL) for refractory mucositis pain.

Results: All eight patients had mucositis pain refractory to a mucositis mixture (lidocaine, magnesium/aluminum hydroxide, and diphenhydramine) and opioids. An improvement in mucositis pain was seen in over half (5/8) of the patients. Four of eight patients had adverse effects that could have been associated with the ketamine mouthwash; all side effects were transient and subsided when the ketamine mouthwash was stopped.

Conclusion: Ketamine swish and expectorate may be a viable treatment option in refractory mucositis pain.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / administration & dosage
  • Ketamine / therapeutic use*
  • Medical Audit
  • Mouthwashes / therapeutic use*
  • Mucositis / physiopathology*
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Analgesics
  • Mouthwashes
  • Ketamine