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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Ketamine Implicated in New Onset Seizure


Ketamine is used widely in emergency departments for a variety of purposes, including procedural sedation and pain management. A major benefit of using ketamine is the rapid onset and lack of respiratory depression. The known side effects include emergence reactions, hallucinations, hypertension, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Recent studies have shown the benefit of ketamine for refractory status epilepticus; however, this application of the drug is still being studied. We present a case where ketamine likely induced a seizure in a patient on whom it was used as a single agent in procedural sedation. Seizure is not a known side effect of ketamine in patients without a seizure history. Given the eagerness over additional uses for ketamine, this novel case of a seizure following procedural sedation with ketamine should be of interest to emergency providers.

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