Adding ketamine to opioids doesn't reduce cancer pain

Adding ketamine to opioids doesn't reduce cancer pain
Using subcutaneously administered ketamine in a dose-escalating regimen as an adjunct to opioids and standard co-analgesics does not have any clinical benefit in relieving cancer pain, but it is associated with increased toxicity, according to research published online Sept. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

(HealthDay)—Using subcutaneously administered ketamine in a dose-escalating regimen as an adjunct to opioids and standard co-analgesics does not have any clinical benefit in relieving cancer pain, but it is associated with increased toxicity, according to research published online Sept. 10 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Janet Hardy, M.D., of the Mater Adult Hospital in South Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a multisite, dose-escalation, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 185 patients with advanced cancer to evaluate the use of ketamine or placebo delivered subcutaneously over three to five days. The authors sought to determine whether the addition of ketamine to opioids improves the management of chronic uncontrolled cancer pain.

The researchers observed no significant difference between patients receiving ketamine or placebo, and it did not matter whether pain was nociceptive or neuropathic. However, there were nearly double the adverse events with ketamine compared with placebo, including a greater risk of severe adverse events (odds ratio, 1.09; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.00 to 1.18). For one positive outcome to be achieved with ketamine use, the number needed to treat was 25, compared with a number needed to harm of only six.

"This large demonstrated a strong and failed to show any additional for ketamine when delivered subcutaneously in a dose-escalating regimen over five days, while significantly increasing toxicity," the authors write.

More information: Abstract
Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Special K' could relieve depression

Jun 07, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Recreational drug and anaesthetic, ketamine, is being trialled in people with severe depression and is providing almost instant relief from symptoms, offering fresh hope of a quick new ...

Ketamine improved bipolar depression within minutes

May 30, 2012

Bipolar disorder is a serious and debilitating condition where individuals experience severe swings in mood between mania and depression. The episodes of low or elevated mood can last days or months, and the risk of suicide ...

Ketamine helps see how the brain works in clinical depression

Jun 16, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- In a new study published in Nature, Lisa Monteggia from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center looks at how the drug ketamine, typically used as an anesthetic or a popular recreational drug f ...

Cannabinoid formulation benefits opioid-refractory pain

Jun 13, 2012

(HealthDay) -- A novel cannabinoid formulation, nabiximols, is safe and effective for patients with advanced cancer and opioid-refractory pain, especially at a low-dose, according to a study published in the ...

Study reveals superior sedation method for children

Oct 19, 2010

Procedural sedation and analgesia is an essential element of care for children requiring painful procedures in the emergency department. The practice of combining ketamine and propofol, two common medications used in emergency ...

Recommended for you

Study pinpoints microRNA tied to colon cancer tumor growth

11 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified microRNAs that may cause colon polyps from turning cancerous. The finding could help physicians provide more specialized, and earlier, treatment before colon cancer ...

Obesity tied to higher cancer risk for CRC survivors

12 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients who are overweight or obese when diagnosed appear to face a slightly higher risk for developing a second weight-related cancer, according to research published ...

User comments