UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Critical Care

Title: Ketamine For Acute Agitation in the Emergency Department

Keywords: Ketamine, agitated delirium (PubMed Search)

Posted: 2/28/2017 by Rory Spiegel, MD (Updated: 2/28/2024)
Click here to contact Rory Spiegel, MD

A recently published study adds to the growing body of literature supporting the use of IV//IM ketamine as a first line agent for the control of the acutely agitated patient. In this observational cohort Riddell et al found patients given ketamine more frequently achieved adequate sedation at both 5 and 10 minutes compared to benzodiazepines, Haloperidol, given alone or in combination. This rapid sedation was achieved without an increase in the need for additional sedation or the rate of adverse events. 


Riddell J, Tran A, Bengiamin R, Hendey GW, Armenian P. Ketamine as a first-line treatment for severely agitated emergency department patients. Am J Emerg Med. 2017