Ketamine is a medication that is used to induce loss of consciousness, or anesthesia. It can produce relaxation and relieve pain in humans and animals.
It is a class III scheduled drug and is approved for use in hospitals and other medical settings as an anesthetic.
However, it is also a commonly abused “recreational” drug, due to its hallucinogenic, tranquilizing and dissociative effects.
Controversy has arisen about using ketamine “off-label” to treat depression. Off-label uses of drugs are uses that are not approved by the the United States, (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ketamine is safe to use in controlled, medical practice, but it has abuse potential. Used outside the approved limits, its adverse mental and physical health effects can be hazardous. Prolonged use can lead to tolerance and psychological addiction.
Some facts on ketamine:
- Ketamine is similar in structure to phencyclidine (PCP), and it causes a trance-like state and a sense of disconnection from the environment.
- It is the most widely used anesthetic in veterinary medicine and is used for some surgical procedures in humans.
- It is considered a “club drug,” like ecstasy, and it has been abused as a date-rape drug.
- Ketamine should only be used as prescribed by a doctor.