Jun 20, 2019 | Updated: 09:31 AM EDT

Ketamine May Not Be So Effective To Alleviate The Postoperative Pain and Delirium

Jun 02, 2017 06:38 AM EDT

Specialist doctor for anesthesia looks at the equipment during surgery in the clinic for surgery and orthopedics of the Martin Luther University April 26, 2006 in Halle, Germany
(Photo : Carsten Koall/ Getty Images) A new study suggests that popular drug Ketamine may not deliver the effective outcome in treating the post-surgery pain and delirium.

Ketamine is a common medicine used to reduce the post-surgery pain. A recent trial delivers different opinion and suggests that it is not effective in treating pain and delirium.

A research team recently investigated the ketamine to explore its benefits. The team consists anesthesiologists of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO. The researchers want to know the drug's benefits after applying it on the patients who recently experienced surgery.

A good number of medical professionals prefer Ketamine to avoid the opioid drugs to decrease or alleviate the post-surgery delirium and pain. Continuous use of the opioid drugs creates addiction disorder in many patients. The first author of this study, Michael S. Avidan, reveals the increasing use of Ketamine to prevent the pain after the surgery. The study is available in the popular journal The Lancet.

Michael S. Avidan is the professor of anesthesiology and surgery at the Washington University. Avidan and other researchers monitored 672 patients who had undergone surgery and belong to four countries, the U.S., the Canada, South Korea and India. The patients were above 60 years old or more. They received a very small dose of Ketamine or no dose of this drug during surgery.

Interestingly, the doses of Ketamine used in the patients during the study are similar to the doses prescribed by the medical professionals to their patients. The research team monitored the patients after the operation for several days and took a note about their pain. The researchers tried to know the exact amount of opioids that were needed for the patients to alleviate the pain. They even tried to know whether the patients had the delirium or not.

Delirium is a particular mental state that is mainly characterized by many features, like the confusion, difficulty in remembering things, Medical News Today reported. This mental state also includes hallucinations, disorientation, and others. Ketamine is hugely prescribed to prevent this problem.

Previous studies indicated that almost 50 percent of the hospitalized elders become the victim of this problem. But, Avidan's own past research unveils the estimate as 20 percent. Avidan reveals that patients suffering from post-surgery delirium often stay a longer time in the intensive care unit, even possess the greater chance of dying. So it is essential to prevent this health problem and Ketamine can be a great solution to it.

Some previous studies also suggested Ketamine in order to recover from anesthesia and to decrease the chances of the post-surgery delirium. But, the new study explores a different view that says the drug is not so effective. Dr. George A. Mashour, the researcher of the study and professor of anesthesiology at the famous University of Michigan Medical School, also opines about it.

Mashour utters that the researchers were quite surprised to see less effect of Ketamine that was used to alleviate the postoperative pain. Avidan says that low doses of the common drug Ketamine don't produce the desired outcome. So it is important to see whether higher doses of the medicine or other alternatives to the opioids could bring the effective result or not.


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