Ketamine (brand name Ketalar) is a dissociative anesthetic (blocks sensory perception) that has been available by prescription in the U.S. since the 1970s for human and veterinary uses. Dissociative drugs can lead to distortion of sights, colors, sounds, self, and one’s environment. It is available in a clear liquid or off-white powder form for intravenous injection. Other dissociative drugs include phencyclidine (PCP) and dextromethorphan (DXM).
- Ketamine can provide pain relief and short-term memory loss (for example, amnesia of a medical procedure).
- In surgery, it is used an induction and maintenance agent for sedation and to provide general anesthesia.
- It has also been used for pain control in burn therapy, battlefield injuries, and in children who cannot use other anesthetics due to side effects or allergies.
- This drug is also under research and holding promise as a treatment for severe depression in difficult cases.
- It is often preferred as an anesthetic due to a lower chance for depressed breathing, as often occurs with opioids.