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Topical Ketamine: A Review of the History, Mechanisms, Uses, Safety, and Future

Author(s):  Rabi Joseph

Issue:  Mar/Apr 2016 - Volume 20, Number 2
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Note:  Electronic version includes supplemental material.

Abstract:  Ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist, is an anesthetic used for general anesthesia. In the past 20 years, ketamine has been successfully formulated topically and has been used for analgesia. Topical analgesics are popular among physicians due to their efficacy and limited systemic effects. With the rise in compounding pharmacies in the U.S., the use of topical ketamine compounded with various bases and other analgesics has been increasing. There are numerous small studies examining the efficacy and safety of topical ketamine mainly on neuropathic pain. In this article, a narrative review examining topical ketamine‚Äôs mechanism, pharmacology, use, safety, and future will be analyzed.

Related Keywords: Joseph Rabi, MD, ketamine, topical preparations, N-methyl-D-aspartate, glutamate NMDA antagonist, anesthesia, anesthetic, analgesic, pain relief, analgesia, pain control, neuropathic pain, adverse effects, patient adherence, postherpetic neuralgia, shingles, herpes zoster, literature review, complex regional pain syndrome, diabetic neuropathy, chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, mechanisms of action, anti-inflammatory agent, pelvic pain, radiculopathy, laminectomy, failed back syndrome, compression neuropathy, erythromelalgia, pruritus, itching, radiation dermatitis, orofacial pain, drug safety, inflammation, inflammatory pain, nociceptive pain, nociception, drug vehicle


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