HealthDay News — Ketamine may benefit children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and episodes of severe aggression and emotional dysregulation, according to a case report published in Pediatrics.

Anna C. Donoghue, MD, from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues report on a case of a 7-year-old boy treated with ketamine for PTSD and episodes of severe aggression and emotional dysregulation. The episodes involved destruction of property and the symptoms were refractory to multiple medical and behavioral interventions.

The authors note that the child demonstrated sustained remission from symptoms (eight to 13 days) when exposed to ketamine on two occasions: when he underwent surgery for tonsillectomy and when he underwent sedated magnetic resonance imaging. On both occasions the patient demonstrated a reduction in the intensity and frequency of aggressive behaviors and exhibited an ability to control his emotions.

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“There is a growing literature supporting ketamine for treatment-resistant depression in adults and, more recently, PTSD,” the authors write. “This case report suggests the need for future study using ketamine as a treatment option for children with a history of trauma and severe behavioral dysregulation who have not responded to first-line medication and behavioral therapy approaches.”


  1. Donoghue AC et al. Pediatrics. 2015; doi:10.1542/peds.2014-4152.