Neuroscience

Ketamine found to be unlikely to lead to addiction

A team of researchers at the University of Geneva has found that ketamine is unlikely to be addictive to people who use it for extended periods of time. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes ...

Medications

Why ketamine is a speedster antidepressant

Ketamine is the speedster of antidepressants, working within hours compared to more common antidepressants that can take several weeks. But ketamine can only be given for a limited amount of time because of its many side ...

Medications

Study sheds new light on a promising antidepressant

Ketamine, a well-known anesthetic used in smaller doses as a party drug, was hailed as a "new hope for depression" in a Time magazine cover story in 2017. Two years later, the arrival of the first ketamine-based antidepressant—the ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Using ketamine to find an undiscovered pathway in depression

For the 280 million people suffering from depression globally, relief cannot come fast enough. Monoaminergic antidepressants, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) take weeks to months to take effect and ...

Medical research

Unlocking the molecular mechanism of PTSD treatment

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a difficult-to-cure mental health condition that is caused by experiencing a traumatizing event, such as interpersonal violence or disaster. While sufferers of PTSD have existed across ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Researchers explore therapeutic uses of ketamine

First manufactured more than 50 years ago, ketamine is a fast-acting dissociative anesthetic often used in veterinary and emergency medicine. Ketamine also has a history of being an illicit party drug.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Once-taboo ketamine booms for US at-home mental care

Americans are paying to get a star of the psychedelic medicine movement—ketamine—shipped to them for at-home mental health treatments that are being called both a breakthrough and a gamble.

Medications

ECT more effective than ketamine in severe depression

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have compared the effects of intravenous ketamine treatment with ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatment in severe depression. The results support the view that ketamine is a possible ...

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Ketamine

Ketamine is a drug used in human and veterinary medicine. Its hydrochloride salt is sold as Ketanest, Ketaset, and Ketalar. Pharmacologically, ketamine is classified as an NMDA receptor antagonist. At high, fully anesthetic level doses, ketamine has also been found to bind to opioid μ receptors type 2 in cultured human neuroblastoma cells, however without agonist activity, and to sigma receptors in rats. Also, ketamine interacts with muscarinic receptors, descending monoaminergic pain pathways and voltage-gated calcium channels. Like other drugs of this class such as tiletamine and phencyclidine (PCP), it induces a state referred to as "dissociative anesthesia" and is used as a recreational drug.

Ketamine has a wide range of effects in humans, including analgesia, anesthesia, hallucinations, elevated blood pressure, and bronchodilation. Ketamine is primarily used for the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia, usually in combination with a sedative. Other uses include sedation in intensive care, analgesia (particularly in emergency medicine), and treatment of bronchospasm. It has been shown to be effective in treating depression in patients with bipolar disorder who have not responded to other anti-depressants. In persons with major depressive disorder it produces a rapid antidepressant effect, acting within two hours as opposed to the several weeks taken by typical antidepressants to work. It is also a popular anesthetic in veterinary medicine.

Ketamine is a chiral compound. Most pharmaceutical preparations of ketamine are racemic; however, some brands reportedly have (mostly undocumented) differences in enantiomeric proportions. The more active enantiomer, (S)-ketamine, is also available for medical use under the brand name Ketanest S. (R)-ketamine, (S)-ketamine & racemic (R,S)-ketamine all have qualitatively separate distinct effect profiles, although S has the most active potency. Ketamine is a core medicine in the World Health Organization's "Essential Drugs List", a list of minimum medical needs for a basic health care system.

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