This study prospectively evaluated the efficacy of oral ketamine in alleviating procedure-related distress in pediatric oncology patients. Ketamine (10 mg/kg) was administered orally to 35 children and adolescents, ranging in age from 14 months to 17 yeas (mean = 6.5 years). Procedure-related distress was evaluated by using parent/clinician ratings and the Observational Scale of Behavioral Distress (OSBD-R). Eighty-seven percent of children were sedated within 45 minutes. Clinician and parent ratings were similar, with 77% rating procedural distress as low (0 to 3). The OSBD-R scores were low throughout all phases of the study. Although this study was neither randomized nor placebo-controlled, statistical comparison of the OSBD-R scores of the patients who received oral ketamine with those of historical controls (from a study previously performed at the same institution but using intravenous midazolam) showed significantly less distress (P < .001) during the procedure in children who received oral ketamine. Additionally, OSBD-R scores of the patients who received oral ketamine were significantly lower (P < .001) during all phases than those of the saline placebo group in the other study. No cardiorespiratory side effects related to ketamine were noted. The majority of patients showed recovery from sedation within 2 hours following the procedure. In conclusion, oral ketamine effectively alleviated procedure-related distress in pediatric oncology patients.
- Received December 10, 1991.
- Accepted March 10, 1992.
- Copyright © 1992 by the American Academy of Pediatrics