What is ketamine used for in medicine?

What is ketamine used for in medicine?

Ketamine is a short-acting general anesthetic that has existed since the 1970s. It was first used in the United States for sedation and pain treatment during the Vietnam War. Even today, it has many medical uses.

The drug is also popular for recreational use due to its dissociative effects. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), recreational forms of ketamine are commonly known as Special K, KitKat, Vitamin K and other slang terms.

Ketamine has formed a lot in the last few years research about its benefits in the treatment of certain mental illnesses. But there is still much we can learn about how ketamine works, how it can be dosed, and what long-term effects it can have on the body.

In this article, we will discuss the medical use of ketamine, side effects and more.

ketamine is known as a dissociative anesthetic. Research from 2018 suggests that ketamine may function by binding to the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain and blocking glutamate.

Glutamate is an important neurotransmitter, a type of brain chemical that plays a role in typical brain function. The researchers believe that this activity helps the use of ketamine in anesthesia, pain treatment and depression.

Ketamine also has partial effects on other brain receptors, including receptors for:

Researchers are still studying how the interaction of ketamine with these brain chemicals affects the body. But some research from 2014 shows that ketamine interactions with these brain receptors may play a role in pain management, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects.

Some other effects ketamine use includes:

Dissociative effects are one of the reasons why ketamine is popular as a “club drug” for recreational use.

Ketamine has various dosages and dosage forms. The effects of the drug may vary depending on the dose and form, as well as whether you use it illegally.

Dosage forms for medical use

Ketamine is a fast-acting general anesthetic. It is available as an injection directly into a vein for sedation. This is known as an intravenous injection. It can also be used by intramuscular injection into a muscle.

Esketamine is a form of ketamine available as a nasal spray. It is used in conjunction with antidepressants to treat treatment-resistant depression in adults.

According to a 2014 reviews, ketamine for medical purposes is used only under the direct supervision of a trained healthcare professional. Your doctor will not prescribe any form of ketamine to use on its own.

Dosage forms for recreational use

The DEA says higher doses of recreational ketamine can cause serious reactions. In the United States, it is classified as a list III non-narcotic substance and is illegal without a prescription.

According to reviews from 2020 and 2021is a ketamine approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as a short-term injectable anesthetic in humans and animals for sedation. It works quickly (within 10 to 30 seconds) when given intravenously for anesthesia. You can take it alone or with other medicines.

It is also used outside the label for several other conditions. According to 2016 researchOne of its uses is as a pain treatment for:

Off-label use means that your doctor is using the drug for a purpose other than its approved use under anesthesia. However, more data are needed to understand the safety and efficacy of some types of pain management, especially chronic chronic pain.

A 2018 review showed that ketamine may also be effective in treating substance use disorders such as alcohol, cocaine or opiate use disorders. However, its advantages, dosage and safety for long-term use require further research.

Review from 2018 and 2020 show that ketamine has gained popularity for its effectiveness in treating certain mental health conditions, such as major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation, along with psychotherapy.

One of the advantages of ketamine over other antidepressants is the rate of action. A 2020 review suggests that this could work within 2 hours. Traditional antidepressants can take weeks to work.

Research of 2018 and 2021 has shown the benefits of ketamine in the treatment of conditions such as:

However, there is still much to learn about how ketamine works, what doses are effective and how safe it is.

The ketamine form known as the escetamine nasal spray was approved by the FDA in 2019 called Administered for use in the treatment of resistant depression. The medicine is given under medical supervision.

Another form of ketamine called R-ketamine is currently being studied for the treatment of resistant depression.

Side effects of ketamine depends on several factors.

They contain:

  • type of drug (medical or recreational)
  • how it is used
  • given dose
  • your age
  • Other medical conditions you may have, such as high blood pressure or heart disease
  • other medicines you may be taking

Side effects may vary from person to person, but are known to include:

  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness
  • muscle cramps or stiffness
  • urinary problems such as painful, difficult or frequent urination and loss of bladder control
  • confusion
  • heart problems such as arrhythmias, slow heart rate, high blood pressure, heart failure or cardiac arrest
  • seizures
  • eye problems
  • anxiety
  • hallucination
  • insomnia
  • dependence
  • difficulty breathing
  • allergic reaction, including rash, difficulty breathing and swelling of the tongue, lips or face

AND revision 2022 found that long-term use of high doses of recreational ketamine may be associated with side effects related to brain function, mood disorders, and psychotic symptoms.

Recreational ketamine can be used alone or in a mixture with other illegal substances. Therefore, it is not clear whether ketamine alone or a combination of other factors contributed to cognitive and behavioral side effects in the studies.

Researchers are still learning about the long-term effects of ketamine, but may include problems with:

It depends. If you have insurance, the ketamine used for anesthesia can be covered. But injectable ketamine for depression or other mental conditions is not yet FDA approved and may not be included. It is considered an off-label drug use.

However, things change and insurance coverage may be promising in the future. If the FDA approves ketamine for other conditions based on new research, your insurance plan could cover ketamine for treatment-resistant depression and other conditions in the future.

Insurance plans take several factors into account when determining coverage. These include:

  • What condition is ketamine used for treatment – Uses that are not FDA approved are unlikely to be covered
  • individual plan
  • composition (escetamine is covered by many plans)

If your doctor is discussing ketamine as a treatment option for your medical condition, you can ask him for insurance coverage. You can also check the coverage in your individual plan.

Many new studies on the various effects of ketamine are currently being conducted. This includes benefits for mental health conditions such as treatment-resistant depression, PTSD and suicidal ideation.

If you have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart problems, or certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, ketamine may not be safe for you. Your doctor can tell you about the latest research and medical use of ketamine, including the pros and cons of this drug.

Keep in mind that ketamine has serious side effects that can be dangerous. Do not use ketamine alone without medical supervision. Using a non-prescription ketamine is illegal and street ketamine may be mixed with other substances that may increase your risk of a serious reaction.

Ask your doctor for more information about ketamine and its use.


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