Stability of Hydromorphone–Ketamine Solutions in Glass Bottles, Plastic Syringes, and IV Bags for Pediatric Use


  • Mary H H Ensom Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia, The University of British Columbia, CJHP
  • Diane Decarie Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia
  • Karen Leung Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia
  • Carolyne Montgomery University of British Columbia, BC Children’s Hospital



patient-controlled analgesia, pediatrics, stability, highperformance liquid chromatography, hydromorphone, ketamine, pain



Objectives: To evaluate the stability of mixtures of hydromorphone and ketamine in 0.9% sodium chloride (normal saline [NS]) after storage for up to 7 days at room temperature (25°C).

Methods: The stability of 3 standard mixtures of hydromorphone and ketamine (hydromorphone 0.2 mg/mL + ketamine 0.2 mg/mL, hydromorphone 0.2 mg/mL + ketamine 0.6 mg/mL, and hydromorphone 0.2 mg/mL + ketamine 1.0 mg/mL) in NS was studied. Portions of each mixture were transferred to 3 brown glass bottles (100 mL), 3 plastic syringes (50 mL), and 3 IV bags (50 mL), which were then stored at room temperature (25°C). Physical characteristics, including pH, colour, and precipitation, were evaluated daily. Three 1.5-mL samples were collected from each bottle, syringe, and IV bag at baseline, at 24, 48, and 72 hours, and on day 7. Samples were analyzed in triplicate by a stability-indicating high-performance liquid chromatography method. Solutions were considered stable if they maintained 90% of the initial concentration of each drug. Samples from syringes and IV bags were subjected to standard sterility testing by incubation for 5 days in an enriched culture media.

Results: No notable changes in pH or colour were observed, and no precipitation occurred in any of the solutions. All formulations maintained more than 90% of the initial concentration of each drug on day 7. No bacterial growth was observed in any of the samples tested.

Conclusions:Mixtures of hydromorphone and ketamine were stable for up 7 days at 25°C, and the sterility of the preparations was maintained. Because stability alone does not guarantee efficacy, it is recommended that clinical studies be conducted to evaluate the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of these formulations.


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