Effect of ketamine combined with magnesium sulfate in neuropathic pain patients (KETAPAIN): study protocol for a randomized controlled trial

Trials. 2017 Nov 3;18(1):517. doi: 10.1186/s13063-017-2254-3.


Background: Neuropathic pain is difficult to treat, and the efficacy of recommended drugs remains limited. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors are implicated, and antagonists are a pharmacological option. Ketamine is widely used in French pain clinics, but without consensus or recommendations. Furthermore, the association of ketamine with magnesium has been poorly studied. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the benefit of ketamine with or without magnesium in refractory neuropathic pain.

Methods/design: A randomized, double-blind, crossover, placebo-controlled study will be performed in Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital, Clermont-Ferrand, France. The aim is to evaluate the effect of ketamine with or without magnesium in 22 patients with neuropathic pain. Intravenous ketamine/placebo, ketamine/magnesium sulfate, or placebo/placebo will be administered consecutively to each patient, in random order, once at 5-week intervals. The primary endpoint is the AUC of pain intensity assessed on a 0-10 Numeric Pain Rating Scale for a 5-week period. Data analysis will be performed on an intention-to-treat basis, and all statistical tests (except primary analysis) will be performed with an α risk of 5% (two-sided).

Discussion: Considering the poor efficacy of the drugs available for neuropathic pain, ketamine with or without magnesium sulfate may be a valuable therapeutic option that needs to be standardized.

Trial registration: EudraCT number- 2015-000142-29 . Registered on April 9, 2015; version 1.4.

Keywords: Ketamine; Magnesium sulfate; N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor; Neuropathic pain; Placebo.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Analgesics / adverse effects
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Drug Combinations
  • France
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Intention to Treat Analysis
  • Ketamine / administration & dosage*
  • Ketamine / adverse effects
  • Magnesium Sulfate / administration & dosage*
  • Magnesium Sulfate / adverse effects
  • Neuralgia / diagnosis
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy*
  • Neuralgia / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Research Design
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Analgesics
  • Drug Combinations
  • Ketamine
  • Magnesium Sulfate