Intranasal ketamine has not been well studied in acute pain treatment and does not have a recognized place in therapy in current practice guidelines for pediatric patients. Ketamine has a unique mechanism of action with a favorable side effect profile that may provide benefit to the pediatric population for acute pain. The purpose of this review is to summarize the evidence evaluating intranasal ketamine versus any other comparator for children who require acute pain treatment.
A systematic review was performed to include clinical studies of intranasal ketamine for acute pain that reported any pain-related outcome and adverse events in children 0 to 17 years old. Trials were identified through PubMed, Google Scholar, clinical trial registries, research registries, and key journals through April 2018. The Jadad scoring system was used to assess the methodological quality of the included randomized controlled trials.
Six studies consisting of 261 patients were reviewed. Intranasal ketamine demonstrated pain relief in all included clinical studies; however, there was inconsistency in dosing, comparators, scales, and indications. Two of the randomized controlled trials were rated as high quality, and 1 randomized controlled trial was rated as poor quality on the Jadad scale.
Intranasal ketamine was safe and effective in the 6 clinical studies included in this systematic review.