Ketamine disposition in children and adults

Br J Anaesth. 1983 Nov;55(11):1107-11. doi: 10.1093/bja/55.11.1107.


The pharmacokinetics of ketamine 2 mg kg-1 i.v. and 6 mg kg-1 i.m. were investigated in nine children undergoing minor surgery. After either route of administration plasma ketamine concentrations were similar to those found in adult patients receiving the same dose, except at later times after i.v. injection, when concentrations were smaller in children. Also, absorption after i.m. injection appeared to be more rapid in children. Substantially larger concentrations of the metabolite norketamine were found in children than in adults after the injection of ketamine. Concentrations of ketamine upon awakening in a further group of nine children receiving ketamine as the sole anaesthetic showed large inter-individual variation. The concentrations were greater than those previously reported for adults. The greater dose requirements in children, compared with adults, are probably attributable to pharmacodynamic rather than pharmacokinetic factors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anesthesia, General
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Ketamine / administration & dosage
  • Ketamine / analogs & derivatives
  • Ketamine / blood
  • Ketamine / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Time Factors


  • Ketamine
  • norketamine