Ketamine has been widely used to treat cancer-related pain. It was assumed that because of ketamine’s effects for subdermal pain that it would be an effective treatment for cancer pain.
However, the study conducted in Australia, shows that among the 93 patients who received ketamine showed identical benefits to the 92 patients who received placebos. However, the patients who took ketamine had significantly higher rates of toxicity and other side negative effects.
David Currow, Chief Investigator and Professor of Palliative and Supportive Services, said that the use of drugs without adequate trials could have potential harm and that the study has highlighted problems that could occur.
He went on to say: “The role of ketamine in routine clinical care for chronic, complex cancer pain is not in any way supported by this study. The result is resoundingly negative.”
The results of the trial were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.