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.