Health and Medical

What Are The Uses Of Ketamine?

What is it?

Uses Of Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that doctors use as an anesthetic before painful procedures or surgeries that do not require muscle relaxation to induce sedation and reduce the sensation of pain. 

Uses of ketamine

General anesthesia

The doctors use ketamine to induce general anesthesia alone or other general anesthetics, such as nitrous oxide, only but the drug has some off-label uses. They also use it in the hospital emergency setting to cause short-term sedation when

    • treating wounds in individuals like children
  • reducing bone fractures
  • treating joint dislocations

Treating pain

Doctors use low doses of ketamine that do not cause dissociation in order to comfort severe pain arising from the following conditions:

  • trauma
  • abdominal pain
  • low back pain
  • fractures
  • arm or leg pain

Treating status epilepticus

Status epilepticus is a condition in which more than one seizure occurs in a person within 5 minutes or a person that has a seizure lasting for more than 5 minutes. Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a type of status epilepticus that does not respond to typical antiseizure drugs. RSE is a severe disease that may cause damage to the brain and death. A study found out that ketamine can effectively treat RSE. Still, more research is required to verify these findings and prove the safety of ketamine in treating this condition.

Treating depression

Research in 2017 demonstrates that some studies indicate ketamine for migraines can quickly relieve depression in people who do not respond well to other treatments. Despite the positive results, the scientists warn that data gathered from this research is limited. 

A study in 2016 alerts everyone that using ketamine inappropriately is a worldwide health problem because of its hallucinogenic properties. Doctors are urged to prescribe standard antidepressants before trying ketamine for depression. Also, practitioners or doctors must always consider the risks of ketamine before prescribing it.

Treating anxiety

There is scarce research available on the use of ketamine for anxiety. Nevertheless, one study suggests that it may help people with a social anxiety disorder (SAD), a condition that involves a significant fear of social situations. A clinical trial in 2017 tested the drug’s effects on 18 participants and concluded that it could effectively treat SAD.

As several other trials indicate ketamine nasal spray for migraines may have significant antianxiety effects, the scientists encouraged future studies to explore this possible benefit more fully. Although ketamine is safe to use in controlled medical practice, it becomes hazardous if someone takes it for recreational use.

You can continue reading to know more about the uses, side effects, and risks of ketamine and its interactions with alcohol and other drugs.

What are the side effects of ketamine?

The most commonly occurring side effects of ketamine at prescribed doses include:

  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • double vision
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • uneasiness

Ketamine might also produce an extensive array of other symptoms that affect many body parts, but they are less common.

Coming down

The next day after taking ketamine, a person may experience the following symptoms:

  • disorientation
  • impaired judgment
  • aches and pains
  • anxiety
  • clumsiness

What are the risks of using ketamine?

Studies show that ketamine is safe for use by people of all ages if taken correctly. However, it is only safe when a person takes the drug their doctor has prescribed for a specific purpose. Despite its general safety, ketamine may have the following risks:

  • Unstable heart rate and blood pressure: It may include a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure or a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate. Abnormal heart rhythms can also occur.
  • Respiratory problems: It can happen if an overdosage of ketamine is taken or if the rate of administration is rapid.
  • Emergence reactions: These reactions include agitation or confusion within the postsurgical recovery period.
  • Increase in intracranial pressure: Due to this effect, doctors must closely monitor anyone who has high intracranial pressure.
  • Liver dysfunction: The administration of ketamine may cause liver injuries.
  • Cognitive problems: Some research reports that these effects occur in children more commonly.

Is ketamine addictive?

The Controlled Substance Act classifies ketamine as a Schedule III non-narcotic drug as its pain-relieving and mental effects may cause dependence. It may lead to the need for higher doses to get the same effect and, ultimately, addiction.

Like any other drug addiction, ketamine can develop a powerful bond that may take control of a person’s life. It is significantly important that an individual who commits an inappropriate use of ketamine get professional counseling and treatment.

Ketamine — a drug of abuse

People use ketamine for its hallucinogenic properties. Ketamine has the ability to produce hallucinations, just like LSD and PCP or angel dust. Hallucinations are disturbed, distorted perceptions of sounds and sights. Ketamine can sedate, hinder, and cause short-term memory loss. It can make people feel detached from their environment, ease pain, and produce hallucinations which have led to its abuse.

Individuals who take ketamine for recreation purposes report sensations like being in the air, feeling separated from their body, or a pleasant feeling. Some people even report an almost complete sensory detachment likened to a near-death experience.

The drug is very popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs, and they claim that a ketamine trip is better than a PCP or LSD trip as it produces hallucinations for shorter periods, around 30 minutes to an hour.

People using ketamine have no memory of events while they are under its influence. Due to its strong ability to sedate and incapacitate, some people even use it as a date-rape drug. People using it for this purpose may slip it into the drink of the person they wish to victimize, and no one can detect it as it is odorless and tasteless. 

Who should not take ketamine?

Doctors do not recommend ketamine for people with:

Health Conditions

Health conditions in which high blood pressure could cause:

  • aneurysm
  • aortic tear
  • heart attack

Please note that the drug is also unsuitable for individuals with schizophrenia, pregnancy, or breastfeeding.

Alcohol Abuse Disorder

If you have alcohol abuse disorder or alcohol intoxication, doctors do not recommend ketamine, not even in doctor-prescribed doses, because it can be fatal. Both ketamine and alcohol depress the central nervous system, so the combined effects can be extremely dangerous.


Doctors do not recommend ketamine for people taking drugs like:

  • Aminophylline (Norphyl) or theophylline (Theo 24) 

These drugs are used to treat airway obstruction in people with breathing problems like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Taking any of them combined with ketamine may increase the risk for seizures.

  • Vasopressin (Vasostrict)

These drugs constrict blood vessels and help treat low blood pressure. As ketamine is also known to have this effect, it is important to take a prescription for a lower dose of ketamine from a doctor to avoid the dangers of too much constriction.

  • Central nervous system (CNS) depressants

The central nervous system depressants contain drugs like benzodiazepines, antianxiety medications, such as diazepam (Valium), or opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone (OxyContin). The CNS is basically the brain and spinal cord. Taking any of these medications with ketamine may lead to profound sedation, coma, and ultimately death.

  • Amphetamine

A study in 2017 reports that taking ketamine with amphetamine-like stimulants can result in quite unwanted side effects. Amphetamines may aggravate the thinking disorders associated with ketamine, while ketamine may worsen anxiety, depression, and lack of energy.

An individual taking ketamine must check with their doctor before taking any over-the-counter medications or vice versa.

Migraines usually occur in women when they are approaching menstruation and during menopause. During menstruation, the sudden drop in estrogen also triggers migraines. Hormonal changes may be brought about by birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Migraines are usually worse between puberty and menopause since the estrogen imbalance typically doesn’t occur in young girls and post-menopausal women. If your hormones are causing migraines, you may tend to have fewer headaches after menopause. Hormonal changes s show no proof of triggering migraines in men.

Ketamine Latest Therapeutic Solution for Severe Migraines

Doctors have been using ketamine as an anesthesia medication for decades now. The anesthetic is categorized as a “dissociative anesthetic” as it induces sedation uniquely compared to other medicines of the same class. While ketamine at high doses can cause a trance-like state or sedation, lower doses can effectively relieve intense pain.

The drug has been used in place of opioids to help prevent pain for people coming out of excruciating surgeries. Instead of affecting the opioid receptors, ketamine affects the N-Methyl-D-aspartic acid (NMDA) receptors in the brain, so it acts as a signaling molecule via this receptor to prevent pain. The drug has naturally received attention for treating complex types of pains, such as migraine pain.

With so much promise that ketamine offers as a potential agent to help migraine sufferers, more patients who regularly deal with these debilitating headaches are taking note now. If you are one of those patients whose headaches have become intolerable and who are ready to find a migraine treatment that may offer relief, please reach out to us at Harbor Compounding Pharmacy. Our specialized pharmacists can work with you and your doctor to determine if intranasal ketamine spray could be right for you.



Harbor Compounding Pharmacy in California to provide better health solutions. This medical pharmacy is working in all major states of the USA. The aim of this health pharmacy is to provide solutions to all health-related issues. To maintain work-life balance, it provides treatment for all diseases and health counseling.

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