Superiority of Oral Ketamine as an Analgesic and Sedative for Wound Care Procedures in the Pediatric Patient With Burns

J Burn Care Rehabil. Jan-Feb 1997;18(1 Pt 1):34-6. doi: 10.1097/00004630-199701000-00006.


The management of pain and anxiety in pediatric patients with burns includes the challenge of striking a balance between inadequate versus excessive medication. Ketamine provides effective sedative, analgesic, and amnestic properties for children and has been used intravenously with good results. With its recent availability as an elixir, we speculated that ketamine given orally may provide effective analgesia and sedation during wound care procedures with a wide safety margin. To test this hypothesis, 19 pediatric patients with burns undergoing a wound care procedure were randomized to receive either ketamine oral suspension or 300 mg acetaminophen with codeine phosphate and diphenhydramine, our prior standard for analgesia and sedation. Intensity of pain was determined with use of a color slide algometer and demonstrated more than 400% reduction in pain with the use of ketamine (p < 0.05). The Ramsey scale was used to quantitate sedation and demonstrated that ketamine improved sedation by 360% (p < 0.05). These results substantiate improved analgesia and sedation with oral ketamine as compared to a commonly used narcotic and sedative in facilitating wound care procedures in pediatric patients with burns. These findings suggest that expanded use of ketamine oral suspension may be.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / administration & dosage
  • Administration, Oral
  • Analgesics / administration & dosage*
  • Anxiety / drug therapy
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Burns / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Codeine / administration & dosage
  • Diphenhydramine / administration & dosage
  • Drug Combinations
  • Humans
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / administration & dosage*
  • Infant
  • Ketamine / administration & dosage*
  • Pain Measurement


  • Analgesics
  • Drug Combinations
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Acetaminophen
  • Ketamine
  • Diphenhydramine
  • Codeine