Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ketamine Continuous Infusions for Sedation in the ICU

One of the lectures I’m working on is regarding minimizing opioid utilization in the ICU on our critically ill patients on mechanical ventilation.
I honestly do not use ketamine as often as I’d like and I have been reviewing all the data behind continuous infusions over the last two days.
Unfortunately, the data isn’t incredibly robust (small sample sizes, mostly retrospective, heterogenous non-MICU patient populations) and there is a wide variation in the doses used in the different studies. This study published earlier this year used ketamine in conjunction with other agents, mostly propofol or fentanyl. The authors found that using ketamine decreases the doses the other agents with no changes in all the other outcomes. Most clinicians are looking for miracle drugs rather than incremental (albeit small) improvements here and there.
One of the problems I have with ketamine is, depending on how it’s mixed, is the sheer volume of the drip. I try to keep my patients potato chip dry and if the ketamine is basically a maintenance fluid, I’m not going to be as excited about it. 

Do you all use ketamine in your ICU for continuous sedation? Do you use it as monotherapy or with other infusions?

Link to Abstract

Garber, P. M., Droege, C. A., Carter, K. E., Harger, N. J. and Mueller, E. W. (2019), Continuous Infusion Ketamine for Adjunctive Analgosedation in Mechanically Ventilated, Critically Ill Patients. Pharmacotherapy, 39: 288-296.

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