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Ketamine – information for parents

Patient information A-Z

To reduce the discomfort and fear your child may have experienced in the emergency department today, he/she has been given a sedative medicine called ketamine. This allows treatment to be carried out without causing extra pain and distress.

  • When you get home your child may still be a bit drowsy. They:
  • should not have any food or drink
  • should be observed by a responsible family member
  • should not be allowed to walk on their own for two hours after the ketamine

They may then be allowed to sleep in a safe place if they want to. If they do not wish to sleep then they should not be left alone until fully awake and co-operative. They should not have other sedative medicines for the next 24 hours and should be closely supervised during the time they are awake.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excess saliva
  • Hallucinations
  • Random movements
  • Rash (short lasting)

These will usually occur soon after the medicine is given, although you should watch for them for 24 hours. It is safe to give your child simple painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998.

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151