Ketamine therapy for chronic pain in The Netherlands: a nationwide survey

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Objectives: Ketamine is used to treat chronic refractory pain. However, there are no scientific guidelines for ketamine use in the Netherlands. The aim of this survey was to provide an overview of the use of ketamine for chronic pain in the Netherlands. Methods: All pain clinics in the Netherlands were contacted. A digital survey, available from June 2019 to January 2020, was sent to 68 pain clinics. The survey was completed by one pain physician as a representative of the entire pain department. The survey included questions about ketamine treatment indications, administration, dose, duration, treatment repetition and the inpatient or outpatient setting. Results: The survey was completed by 51 pain clinics (75.0%). Thirty-one clinics used ketamine for chronic pain treatment. The most common indication was Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (83.9%). Pain clinics administered ketamine via intravenous infusions (96.8%), iontophoresis (61.3%), subcutaneous (3.2%) or oral administration (3.2%). Intravenous ketamine treatment was offered in an inpatient setting in 14 pain clinics, in both an inpatient and outpatient setting in 11 pain clinics and in six pain clinics in an outpatient setting. In the outpatient setting, the median starting dose was 5 mg/h (IQR=17.5-5). The median maximum dose was 27.5 mg/h (IQR=100-11.9). The median infusion duration was 6 h (IQR=8-4). In the inpatient setting, the median starting dose was 5 mg/h (IQR=5-1.5) and the median maximum dose was 25 mg/h (IQR=25-14). Patients were admitted to hospital for a median of 4 days (IQR=5-1). Conclusions: The results of this Dutch nationwide survey study show that there are heterogeneous treatment protocols with different indications, treatment setting and dosing regimen for the treatment of chronic pain with ketamine. This study encourages the formulation of a broader consensus and the development of evidence based guidelines for ketamine treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalScandinavian Journal of Pain
Issue number1
Early online date24 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Thomas J.P. Mangnus et al., published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston.


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