The following is a summary of “Investigating the effectiveness of oral ketamine on pain, mood and quality of life in treatment resistant chronic pain,” published in the November 2023 issue of Pain by Mukhaizeem, et al.
Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 3 months and can cause persistent emotional distress and disability that does not respond to conventional treatments. Oral ketamine therapy may be a new option for managing treatment-resistant chronic pain. Researchers performed a retrospective study to assess the effectiveness of oral ketamine in a tertiary chronic pain management clinic.
The study included 79 patients with various chronic pain conditions who received oral ketamine treatment for up to 12 years. The patients evaluated changes in pain, mood, and quality of life using a numerical pain severity score, the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI), the Public Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), and the American Chronic Pain Association Quality of Life scale.
About 73 patients appeared for follow-up (mean daily dose and treatment duration were 193.84 mg and 22.6 months, respectively). The mean daily dose was 193.84 mg, and the treatment duration averaged 22.6 months. Pain scores significantly decreased (P< 0.0001), with a (41.6% decrease) in numerical scores and a mean decrease of 2.61 in BPI scoring(mean decrease 2.61). Mood showed significant improvement (P< 0.0001) based on PHQ-9 and BPI measurements. Patients reported enhanced daily activities and improved quality of life. The most common adverse reaction was drowsiness (21.9%), while 30.1% reported no adverse reactions from ketamine.
The study found that oral ketamine under supervision is safe, tolerable, and effective for chronic pain unresponsive to other treatments, but further research on long-term use is needed.