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AMR ambulances to carry non-opioid painkiller

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 13. 2018 9:03PM

MANCHESTER — Officials with American Medical Response (AMR) announced late last week that paramedics in Manchester will now carry a non-opioid painkiller onboard ambulances “to safely and effectively manage pain” for some patients.

AMR Regional Director Chris Stawasz said the new option — ketamine — is a non-opioid and less addictive than some drugs.

“Having ketamine as an additional option for our medics allows them to expand their options for safe and effective pain control for our patients,” said Stawasz. “In the midst of the opioid epidemic we are continually looking for ways to utilize less addictive clinically effective alternatives for pain management.”

The state’s Bureau of EMS Medical Control Board added the option for all advanced life support service ambulance services in New Hampshire to begin carrying ketamine in early 2018, at the discretion of their individual service medical director. According to Stawasz, the Medical Control Board developed and issued ketamine administration protocols for all paramedics in the state.

Stawasz said ketamine is not an opioid and has been shown to be just as effective, in the short term, as morphine for pain management in the emergency setting for several reasons: It can be used for pain management and sedation; does not cause respiratory depression and is a safe alternative to opioids

Synthesized in 1962, ketamine was created to be an anesthetic for operating room use.

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