The Most Effective Anti-Depressant: What is Ketamine
Used during surgical procedures and generally as a pain reliever in hospitals and other medical settings, Ketamine is categorized as a class III scheduled drug.
Slowly through the years, Ketamine took its label up into the classification of a controlled substance drug in 1999.
A Brief Look into Ketamine: History and Its Definition
Known as Special K or Vitamin K or Ketalar, this dissociative anesthetic drug has had a history of changes through its various uses.
As an odorless and tasteless drug, it can be taken orally or through the nasal cavity. The chemical structure and mechanism of action of the drug are similar to PCP, which is Phencyclidine, which tends to cause a trance-like or dream-like state.
From its role in the OR to its uses in veterinary medicine, Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. Safely used as an anesthetic, taking Ketamine under a medical procedure does not carry the effects like a reduction of blood pressure or a lower breathing rate.
It is also even deemed more effective than administering an anesthetic because it does need oxygen, an electricity supply, or even a highly-trained team on staff.
With all of these possible benefits and effects of Ketamine, the APA, the American Psychological Association, states that Ketamine can be beneficial to some patients with mood disorders.
Off the record, it can actually be one of the biggest breakthroughs in treating depression.
Past and Present Practice of Ketamine
In the past, the usage of Ketamine was used in procedures through veterinary medicine and in human medicine.
In Veterinary Medicine
Otherwise labeled as a Ketamine Hydrochloride Injection, Ketamine can be used in cats and non-human primates through injection. These injections can be administered in the event of a minor and brief surgical procedure.
For animals, it has also been used as a sedative, a restraint, and a pain reliever. It can be injected intramuscularly or intravenously.
In Human Medicine
For humans, Ketamine is often used in surgical procedures and pain-relieving situations. However, contrary to most analgesics, it doesn’t have a direct connection to the pain receptors.
How Ketamine works in regards to pain is that it targets the glutamine receptors, which helps keep the “pain” sensations disconnected from the body.
For medical practices, it often has been used in procedures like minor surgeries like dental operations, diagnostic procedures in the throat, nose, ears, and eyes, skin grafts, and even cardiac catheterization.
It has even been used in cases of controlled settings of seizures with patients who have epilepsy. It can also relieve pain.
Nowadays, we are researching the effective uses of Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. The research is turning out to be rather effective, even helping to prevent suicide and substance abuse.
The Benefits of Ketamine on Depression
Although the FDA has not yet approved the drug in treating depression, the National Institutes of Health are sponsoring research to look into the benefits of Ketamine on treatment-resistant depression.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits:
- Ketamine seems to work quicker than other antidepressants. It only takes a few hours for the drugs to take effect. And when depression, suicidal thoughts, and negative thoughts are in-question, the faster the effects come to realization, the better.
- Ketamine seems to work when other antidepressants don’t. Seen through studies involving patients who have remained in a depressive state despite multiple treatments, Ketamine can even take effect on the same day that they begin taking the new dose.
- Ketamine targets different parts of your brain. Other antidepressants normally try and get to the serotonin and noradrenaline systems. However, Ketamine instead focuses on the build-up of proteins in the brain, blocking a receptor called NMDA.
Continuation of Research
Although it has yet to be approved by the FDA, Ketamine has been fully invested in thorough research backed by companies like Esketamine and Rapastinel, which have looked into its breakthrough possibilities.
At the moment, doctors can prescribe ketamine as an “off-label” medication. However, with enough research, the future is promising to get its full-backings by the FDA.
The Effects of Ketamine
Depending on the individual’s level of depression, the degree of effectivity can change. Just like any drug, the effects—and the dosage required—will change from patient to patient.
Some factors that influence the degree of the effects and the dosage used are weight, gender, and metabolism. Other factors also include the frequency of usage, drug abuse, and some other medical conditions prior to taking Ketamine.
As we mentioned, every patient is different, so these effects can be felt lighter or heavier in some patients more than others. However, one fact is common across the board: you’re more likely to get into negative effects if taken in much higher doses.
Some effects of Ketamine include:
- An increase in energy
- Meaningful spiritual experiences
- An enhanced sense of connection with yourself and the world around you
- A calm sense of serenity
- An ultimate feeling of euphoria
- A feeling of dissociation from your mind and your body
- Changes in the perception of time
- Pain relief and numbness
How Long Will the Effects Last?
Depending on the dosage and the factors we mentioned above, the effects of Ketamine can change also depending on how you take the drug.
If you take it through the nose, it will take about 5-15 minutes to kick in. The duration of the effects will last anywhere from 40-60 minutes and you will still be able to feel after-effects from one hour to three hours after the drug was administered.
If you take it orally, it will take about 5-20 minutes to kick in. The duration of the effects will last around 90 minutes and you will still be able to feel after-effects from 40 to 80 minutes after the drug was administered.
If you take it through injection, it will take about 1-5 minutes to kick in. The duration of the effects will last around 1-2 minutes and you will still be able to feel after-effects from two hours to four hours after the drug was administered.
Ketamine: A Few Fast Facts
Before you talk to your doctor about Ketamine, here are a few fast facts to sum up what we now know about the drug:
- Ketamine comes in a colorless and odorless liquid or a white/off-white powder
- It is primarily used as a veterinary anesthetic and is legally approved through the use of animals and humans.
- The effects of Ketamine are often associated with PCP along with its anesthetic properties.
- It can be taken orally, through the nasal passage or injected into the system.
- The duration of the effects will depend on how the drug is taken, the patient, his or her medical history, as well as the dosage.
Talk to Your Doctor
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