Ketamine produces effective and long-term pain relief in patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1.
Sigtermans, Marnix J. a,1; van Hilten, Jacobus J. b,1; Bauer, Martin C.R. a; Arbous, Sesmu M. c; Marinus, Johan b; Sarton, Elise Y. a; Dahan, Albert a,*
145(3):304-311, October 2009.
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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1 (CRPS-1) responds poorly to standard pain treatment. We evaluated if the N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonist S( )-ketamine improves pain in CRPS-1 patients. Sixty CRPS-1 patients (48 females) with severe pain participated in a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled parallel-group trial. Patients were given a 4.2-day intravenous infusion of low-dose ketamine (n = 30) or placebo (n = 30) using an individualized stepwise tailoring of dosage based on effect (pain relief) and side effects (nausea/vomiting/psychomimetic effects). The primary outcome of the study was the pain score (numerical rating score: 0-10) during the 12-week study period. The median (range) disease duration of the patients was 7.4 (0.1-31.9) years. At the end of infusion, the ketamine dose was 22.2 /- 2.0 mg/h/70 kg. Pain scores over the 12-week study period in patients receiving ketamine were significantly lower than those in patients receiving placebo (P < 0.001). The lowest pain score was at the end of week 1: ketamine 2.68 /- 0.51, placebo 5.45 /- 0.48. In week 12, significance in pain relief between groups was lost (P = 0.07). Treatment did not cause functional improvement. Patients receiving ketamine more often experienced mild to moderate psychomimetic side effects during drug infusion (76% versus 18%, P < 0.001). In conclusion, in a population of mostly chronic CRPS-1 patients with severe pain at baseline, a multiple day ketamine infusion resulted in significant pain relief without functional improvement. Treatment with ketamine was safe with psychomimetic side effects that were acceptable to most patients.
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