- Ketamine can provide pain relief and short-term memory loss (for example, amnesia of a medical procedure).
- In surgery, it is used an induction and maintenance agent for sedation and to provide general anesthesia.
- It has also been used for pain control in burn therapy, battlefield injuries, and in children who cannot use other anesthetics due to side effects or allergies.
- Ketamine, through blocking at the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) site, has rapid action in controlling symptoms of depression and acute suicidal ideation.
- At normal doses, it is often preferred as an anesthetic in patients at risk of bronchospasm and respiratory depression.
Abuse of ketamine can be linked with short-term and long-term problems:
- Short-term: Problems with attention, learning, and memory; dreamlike states, hallucinations; sedation; confusion; loss of memory; raised blood pressure; unconsciousness; dangerously slowed breathing.
- Long-term: Ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; poor memory.
|Cardiovascular||Chest pain, elevated or depressed heart rate, high blood pressure, low blood pressure (rare).||Chest pain, dangerous changes in blood pressure, heart rate.|
|Central Nervous System (CNS)||Agitation, alterations in sight, sound, shapes, time, and body image, confusion, detached feelings, dizziness, drowsiness, flashbacks, hallucinations, lethargy, loss of coordination, numbness, sedation.||Amnesia (memory loss), coma, delirium, elevated body temperature, fear, hallucinations or terrors (k-hole effect), panic, seizures, violent behavior.|
|Gastrointestinal||Nausea and vomiting.||Nausea and vomiting.|
|Renal||Kidney toxicity (with chronic abuse).||Kidney toxicity (with chronic abuse).|
|Respiratory||Increase in breathing rate.||Respiratory depression (with rapid, high doses and if combined with alcohol or other CNS depressants).|
|Other||Salivation (IV use), spasm of the larynx (rare).||Severe anxiety, fear, panic, anxiety, exaggerated strength, and aggression, muscle rigidity, respiratory depression, death from overdose, especially if combined with alcohol, other CNS depressants).|