Select Page

Determining the Efficacy and Safety of Ketamine as a Battlefield Analgesic

Fauerbach James, PhD

Ketamine has emerged as a potentially effective analgesic alternative to narcotics for use in combat-associated cases. The potential advantages of using ketamine instead of narcotics and benzodiazepine drugs during austere operations include the preservation of muscle tone and protective airway reflexes, reduced risk of respiratory depression, reduced incidence of hemodynamic instability in shock, reduced need for opioids, and decreased nausea and vomiting. Early case reports attest to its effectiveness, but these reports are anecdotal.

This study will assess the effectiveness of ketamine using acute burn patients as surrogates for combat casualties. Similar to soldiers wounded in combat, burn patients experience the acute and chronic consequences of severe pain requiring the administration of potent analgesics, usually narcotics, and undergo frequent painful procedures while under care.