What Is Ketamine, And How Does It Help?

Ketamine or Ketalar is a short-acting anesthetic that has been doing the rounds since the 1970s. Initially, it was utilized in the US for pain management and sedation at the time of the Vietnam War, and it continues to possess several medical uses. This drug is hugely popular for different recreational uses due to its dissociative effects. Physicians use ketamine for inducting general anesthesia for medical processes that don’t need muscle relaxation. According to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), recreational types of ketamine are called KitKat, Special K, Vitamin K, etc. 

Ketamine therapy can create hallucinations similar to different other drugs, like PCP, LSD, or angel dust. It is sanctioned for use at higher doses in the form of an anesthetic. Though not FDA-sanctioned, lower dosage “sub-anesthetic” injections of ketamine are utilized “off-label” for treating pain, depression, and other substance use disorders. Recently, there have popped several factors that contribute to enhanced depression all across wide populations. Again, there are many medications available too for anxiety, substance use disorders, and depression that include regular administration of medications. They aim to correct neurochemical imbalances through action at particular brain receptors such as mu-opioid, dopamine, and serotonin. 

Medical uses of ketamine

According to the reviews, the FDA has approved the use of ketamine in the form of a short-term anesthetic in animals and humans for sedation. This compound works fast, within ten to thirty seconds only when it is provided intravenously for anesthesia. A person can receive ketamine alone or along with other medicines. Again, ketamine is also utilized for different other conditions like:

  • Different kinds of chronic pain.
  • Cancer pain.
  • Migraine.
  • Burns.
  • Chronic neuropathic pain.

In off-label use, a physician utilizes this drug for a definite purpose besides its sanctioned use in anesthesia. Nonetheless, more data is still required for understanding the effectiveness and safety of ketamine for some kinds of pain mgmt. particularly for long-term chronic pain.

A review done in 2018 proved that ketamine might also be hugely effective in treating substance use disorders, like cocaine, opioid use disorder, and alcohol. However, its dosages, benefits, and safety for long-term use require further research.

The ideal candidate for ketamine therapy

Now the question is who might be the ideals candidate for this therapy. Even when you are suffering from treatment-resistant depression, you might wonder whether or not ketamine therapy would be ideal for you. Before recommending a treatment, physicians do a comprehensive examination that ensures that this therapy is ideal for a person. A person becomes eligible for this therapy in the following circumstances:

  • He has attempted taking various medication dosages or combinations but didn’t get any relief in his symptoms.
  • He has tried using other therapies, too, that includes TMS.
  • The person has not responded to individual therapy or CBT.
  • The person does not suffer from any of the contraindications.

This therapy is not utilized in the form of a 1st-line defense against depression, and it works the best for those who try it. It can bring them the relief they need.