Low-dose ketamine may be an effective alternative to opioids

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Opioids are commonly prescribed in the emergency department (ED) for the treatment of acute pain, but due to the epidemic of opioid misuse, analgesic alternatives are being explored. A new Academic Emergency Medicine analysis of relevant studies found that low-dose ketamine is as effective as opioids for the control of acute pain in the ED.

The analysis of 3 studies noted that although adverse events associated with ketamine were reported, few appeared to be clinically significant.

"Ketamine appears to be a legitimate and safe alternative to opioids for treating acute pain in the Emergency Department," said senior author Dr. Evan Schwarz, of the Washington University School of Medicine. "Emergency physicians can feel comfortable using it instead of opioids."

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/acem.13502

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