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Ketamine PCA for Treatment of End-of-Life Neuropathic Pain in Pediatrics

Control of neuropathic pain (NP) for children at end of life is challenging. Ketamine improves control of NP, but its use in children is not well described. We describe a retrospective case review of 14 children with terminal prognoses treated with ketamine patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) for management of opioid-refractory NP at the end of life. Median ketamine dose was 0.06 mg/kg/h (range 0.014-0.308 mg/kg/h) with a 0.05 mg/kg (range 0.03-0.5mg/kg) demand dose available every 15 minutes (range 10-60 minutes). All patients noted subjective pain relief with ketamine, and 79% had no adverse effects. Benzodiazepines limited neuropsychiatric side effects. Ketamine treatment arrested dose escalation of opioids in 64% of patients, and 79% were discharged to home hospice. Ketamine PCA is an effective, well-tolerated therapy for opioid-refractory NP in pediatric end-of-life care.

from American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine current issue


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