Oral Administration of Injectable Ketamine During Burn Wound Dressing Changes

J Pharm Pract. 2021 Jun;34(3):423-427. doi: 10.1177/0897190019876497. Epub 2019 Sep 19.


Providing adequate analgesia during burn wound care is essential to patient-centered care. Both oral and intravenous (IV) ketamine are often used for analgesia and sedation. Ketamine may improve analgesia and decrease opioid requirements for burn wound care. Oral ketamine wafers and tablets have been used as a safe alternative internationally but are unavailable in the United States. The purpose of this study was to compare opioid usage and patient satisfaction scores in patients with and without the use of oral injectable ketamine for burn wound care, with each patient serving as their own control. Ketamine, opioid, and benzodiazepine dosages recorded during dressing changes were compared to dressing changes without ketamine use that occurred before and after ketamine-associated sessions in each patient. Fourteen patients received oral ketamine at a median (interquartile range [IQR]) dose of 2.5 (2.2-2.7) mg/kg. Ketamine use significantly decreased opioid requirements when compared to wound care sessions that did not use ketamine both before (50 [IQR: 30-75] mg vs 75 [IQR: 46-91] mg median IV morphine equivalents, P = .0097) and after (50 [IQR: 30-75] mg vs 63 [IQR: 50-96] mg median IV morphine equivalents, P = .0042) the ketamine-associated sessions. One patient experienced hallucinations, and no adverse events were observed. Hence, oral administration of injectable ketamine was associated with a decrease in opioid requirements during dressing changes. Additionally, ketamine use improved patient satisfaction (P = .0034). Preliminary data suggest this promising analgesia method is safe and effective for burn wound care.

Keywords: burn dressing changes; ketamine; opioid requirements.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Bandages
  • Burns* / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Ketamine*


  • Analgesics
  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Ketamine