Painaustralia was asked to contribute a consumer perspective to the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists Faculty of Pain Medicine position statement on the use of ketamine in the management of chronic non-cancer pain.
To inform our submission we conducted a survey among our consumer network on the use of this treatment for chronic non cancer pain. We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. A large 88 per cent of respondents reported having used ketamine for their chronic non cancer pain, saying it alleviated their pain when other treatments, such as opioids, hadn’t worked for them.
The responses to the survey, which reflects the experiences our stakeholders had using ketamine to treat chronic pain, can be grouped into four categories:
those who found ketamine helped treat their pain;
those who found ketamine helped treat their pain initially but then found it stopped being effective or was unsuccessful at a higher dose;
those who found that ketamine helped alleviate other symptoms such as depression; and
those who found ketamine did not help with their pain or any other symptoms.
Some of the comments we received included:
"I have a week-long ketamine infusion every 8 weeks and have done so for two years. I also have ketamine lozenges for breakthrough pain which both have been the only things able to help with my intractable chronic pain condition CRPS."
"When my chronic pancreatitis flares my pain dr puts me on a 24hr ketamine infusion, for usually around 7 days. Depending on how long it takes my pancreatitis to settle. Also pain dr has used ketamine infusions for other chronic pain issues I have. Helps when I require it, but in QLD it can't be used outside of a hospital. I also have an Intrathecal Fentanyl Pump."