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Ketamine: An Overview

ketamine

Ketamine’s Unique Structure

Ketamine is probably one of the few date rape drugs that are regularly used in human and veterinary medicine. It is similar to PCP and was designed in the earlier 1960s as an alternative to the drug. It is a dissociative anesthetic, meaning that the person who takes it feels like they are having an out of body experience. It was investigated as a treatment for depression and shown to be effective in people who have not responded to other treatment. Ketamine can be snorted, swallowed and injected intramuscularly or intravenously.

Ketamine works by preventing glutamate from binding to glutamate receptors in the brain. This neurotransmitter increases brain activity. In veterinary medicine, it used along with another as a pre-anesthetic drugs for pain control. In human medicine, it is often used in burn victims and kids for short procedures because of the amnesia and pain relief it provides. Other advantages are that it is taken up very quickly and most of it is excreted rapidly, mainly through the kidneys.

People use it recreationally because of the euphoria, feeling like they are floating or leaving their bodies and in a dream. Some have experienced the same thing but in a negative way and feel extreme fear. It can cause both stimulation and sedation. Delirium, hypertension, slowed motor function, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, double vision, depression and respiratory problems that can be life-threatening can also occur when taken in high doses. It is believed that long term use of ketamine can lead to permanent cognitive problems and inflammation of the urinary tract. On the street, it is known as “Vitamin K” or “Special K”.

Like Rohypnol and GHB, ketamine is odorless and tasteless, making it another good drug for a potential rapist to incapacitate an unsuspecting victim. Swallowing it also increases its numbing and sedative effects and impairs the person’s mobility. The amnesia is another advantage because the victim is going to have difficulty recalling what happened. It is a scheduled III drug in the United States and is only administered while in the hospital.

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Last updated November 2013

Kristie Hayes, M.S. (5 Posts)

Kristie Hayes graduated from the University of Wisconsin Comparative Biomedical Sciences Department with a Master of Science in Pharmacology & Toxicology. She is particularly interested drug metabolism and the development of new drugs designed to fight cancer. She currently works as a pharmacy technician at Surety Pro Pharmacy that serves seniors in independent and assisted living facilities and individuals in transitional community-based residential facilities.


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