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RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

Effect of a low-dose ketamine regimen on pain, mood, cognitive function and memory after major gynaecological surgery: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

F Aubrun, C Gaillat, D Rosenthal, M Dupuis, P Mottet, F Marchetti, P Coriat, B Riou
European Journal of Anaesthesiology 2008, 25 (2): 97-105
17894912

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Major gynaecological abdominal surgery is associated with moderate to severe postoperative pain, hyperalgesia and the need for multimodal analgesia to reduce high morphine consumption. A low-dose ketamine regimen appears to prevent postoperative hyperalgesia. We examined the potential beneficial effect of ketamine on postoperative pain management and cognitive function.

METHODS: Ninety patients were included in this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study to test the efficacy and adverse effects of ketamine (as an intraoperative bolus of 0.15 mg kg-1, followed postoperatively by ketamine 0.5 mg per morphine 1 mg in a patient-controlled analgesia device). All patients received additionally ketoprofen. The main end-point was morphine consumption over the first 24 h. Secondary efficacy and safety end-points were morphine consumption during the titration period and during the patient-controlled analgesia period (48 h), the number of morphine-related adverse effects and the results of psychometric tests.

RESULTS: Ketamine, in combination with morphine and ketoprofen, did not improve postoperative pain scales and did not reduce morphine consumption and the incidence of morphine-related adverse effects. Ketamine did not modify mood, cognitive and memory functioning.

CONCLUSION: Adding a low dose of ketamine to an efficacious multimodal analgesic regimen did not improve analgesia after gynaecological surgery. Although this combination appears to be safe, the lack of benefit suggests that a low dose of ketamine should not be used for routine care.

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