An evaluation of the effect of oral ketamine and standard oral premedication in the sedation of paediatric dental patients.
We compared the effectiveness of ketamine with standard oral premedication (SOP) in 60 children, 2-7 years of age, sedated orally for dental treatment under local anaesthesia. Children were assigned randomly to receive either 12.5 mg/kg ketamine or 0.5 ml/kg of SOP orally 60 min before the dental procedure. Pulse rate, systolic, diastolic and mean arterial pressures, respiratory rates and blood oxygen saturation were recorded prior to drug administration, 60 min thereafter and immediately before the dental procedure. Anxiety levels were measured at the same time intervals. The level of sedation was measured 60 min after drug administration. No significant differences were found in the anxiety levels between the groups 60 min after oral administration. The level of sedation in both groups before surgery was excellent. Operator evaluation for overall effectiveness of treatment showed that sedation was very good in 60 per cent of children in the ketamine group compared with 20 per cent in the SOP group. More children in the ketamine group were better sedated (p < 0.05). Both premedicants produce good sedation and anxiolysis 60 min after premedication and immediately before the surgical procedure.