The Rise of Ketamine: Exploring Its Potential to Alleviate Post-Surgical Chronic Pain

Patients in a regional Victorian city are eagerly participating in a groundbreaking global study that delves into the impact of ketamine on post-surgical chronic pain. Ballarat Base Hospital in Australia is taking the lead by aiming to recruit nearly 5,000 patients, making it the largest trial of its kind.

Grampians Health has already successfully enrolled over 4,000 individuals, making Ballarat the second highest recruiter worldwide and the first in Australia. Participants are motivated to give back to the community and play a pivotal role in this pioneering research.

While the trial is ongoing, it has already garnered significant attention. The core question of whether ketamine effectively reduces post-surgical chronic pain remains unanswered. However, researchers are optimistic about its potential, citing the success of the dedicated anesthetic team and the unique advantage of tapping into a regional population that is often underrepresented in clinical trials.

Post-surgical chronic pain is an area of concern as current treatments are limited. The Australian New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) is spearheading this initiative, exploring how adjustments in the administration of ketamine could offer a solution. Professor Philip Peyton from the University of Melbourne, the principal investigator for the trial, emphasizes that chronic pain after surgery has gained more awareness over the past few decades.

Ketamine, commonly known as an animal tranquilizer or party drug, is already used by medical professionals to address a range of conditions. However, the ROCKet trial is the first large-scale study specifically investigating its potential to prevent post-surgical chronic pain from becoming entrenched and unrelenting.

With participation from over 130 hospitals globally, ROCKet is making strides in expanding knowledge in pain management. The trial, which has been in progress for approximately four years, has faced delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recruitment is set to conclude by the end of this year, and researchers aim to follow up with the 4,880 participants for an extended period of time.

The collaboration between Ballarat hospital, the anesthetic team, surgeons, and ward staff has been integral to the success of this trial. Their dedication to groundbreaking research and the pursuit of improved patient outcomes is commendable. Once the trial concludes and results are analyzed, the findings will be published in a peer-reviewed journal, contributing valuable insights to the field of pain management.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the ROCKet trial?

The ROCKet trial is a worldwide study exploring the effects of ketamine on post-surgical chronic pain. It is the largest trial of its kind and involves over 130 hospitals globally.

2. How many patients are being recruited for the trial?

The aim is to recruit almost 5,000 patients for the trial, with more than 4,000 already enrolled at Ballarat Base Hospital in Australia.

3. What is the purpose of the trial?

The trial aims to determine if ketamine can prevent post-surgical chronic pain, which currently has no known treatments.

4. Why is Ballarat Base Hospital a significant site for this research?

Ballarat Base Hospital has gained recognition as the second highest recruiter worldwide and the first in Australia. Its regional location provides access to a diverse cohort of patients who often go underrepresented in clinical trials.

5. How long has the trial been running?

The trial has been ongoing for approximately four years, with some delays due to COVID-19 regulations.

6. When will the trial conclude?

Recruitment for the trial is expected to finish by the end of this year. After that, there will be a follow-up period with the participants, and the trial will be closed off before the results are released in a peer-reviewed journal.