Neurocognitive Changes after Sustained Ketamine Administration in Children with Chronic Pain

J Palliat Care Med. 2015 Mar;5(2):215. doi: 10.4172/2165-7386.1000215. Epub 2015 Mar 27.


Introduction: Ketamine has received attention recently as an agent for chronic pain. There are concerns, however, regarding the neurocognitive changes patients might experience after ketamine exposure.

Methods: This prospective, uncontrolled study describes the neurocognitive functioning of 11 children with chronic pain before and after 2 weeks of daily oral ketamine exposure. Neurocognitive assessment was performed at baseline, Week 2, and Week 14. We hypothesized that there would be declines in neurocognitive scores at either Week 2 or Week 14.

Results: No decline in neurocognitive function was detected in the children investigated. Mean scores for tests measuring executive function and memory were improved at Weeks 2 and 14 compared to baseline.

Discussion: This study did not detect any decline in neurocognitive scores in a small number of children exposed to 2 weeks of oral ketamine therapy. Randomized, controlled studies of the neurocognitive effects of ketamine in children are recommended to further investigate these preliminary findings.

Keywords: Cognitive function; Memory; Neurologic; Pediatric; Sedation.