Results of Meta-Analysis Show Promise, but Larger Studies are Needed

Results of a new meta-analysis of data lend support to the use of Ketamine for treatment of persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP), according to researchers from the Austin Hospital and University of Melbourne Department of Anesthesia. The study, led by Philip Peyton, MD, PhD, concludes that Ketamine is both safe and inexpensive, and offers potential savings of billions of dollars for health systems globally. The team had recently finished a pilot study of 80 patients in preparation for a larger phase 3-4 randomized trial of ketamine, and used data from these subjects, together with findings from 8 prior studies, for the meta-analysis. Their findings were scheduled for presentation last week at Euroanaesthesia 2016 in London.

PPSP is reported by around 1 in 8 patients following surgery, with 1/3 of those rating their pain as severe. Ketamine, a non-selective N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, was found in a recent Cochrane Review to be the only agent with evidence of potential benefit as an intervention against PPSP. In the current meta-analysis, Dr. Peyton’s team found that patients who received ketamine were half as likely to report PPSP as those who received placebo. Peyton commented “Developed countries spend billions of dollars on treatment of persistent post-surgical pain. Should further studies confirm our findings on ketamine, healthcare systems will have a cheap and effective means to treat this condition, allowing huge cost savings." Read a press release about the findings here.

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