What is Ketamine?

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Recently, the autopsy report for Matthew Perry, stating that the actor's cause of death was the "acute effects of ketamine," has sparked concerns and questions about the use of this medication.

About Ketamine

  • Ketamine, also known as Ketalar, is a medicine that doctors use to make people not feel pain during surgeries.
  • It is derived from a hallucinogenic drug Phencyclidine (PCP), it works by blocking the NMDA receptor in the brain and spinal cord, and increases a brain chemical or neurotransmitter called glutamate.
  • It halts transmission of pain in the spinal cord and activates reward pathways of the brain.
  • It is a dissociative anaesthetic with psychedelic properties is used under strict medical supervision for anaesthesia and to treat treatment-resistant depression.
  • Ketamine therapy is used to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, end-of-life distress, chronic pain, drug/alcohol problems, and more.
  • Impact on the body
    • Ketamine induces hallucinations, distorts sight and sound perceptions, leading to a sense of disconnection and loss of control.
    • Potential side effects include agitation, depression, cognitive issues, unconsciousness, and memory loss.
  • It is a Schedule X drug in India, which means it is tightly controlled and even monitored on a case-specific basis by the prescribing doctor. 

What are Schedule X drugs?

  • These are the ‘restrictive drugs’ which are covered under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act and Rules. The list of Schedule X drugs includes over 536 drugs.
  • The Schedule X drugs include Narcotic and Psychotropic drugs which cause delusion, hallucination, psychosis, sedation and hypnosis.
  • These drugs should be sold only on the prescription of a registered medication practitioner only.

Q1) What is The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) ?

It is a receptor of glutamate, the primary excitatory neurotransmitter in the human brain. It plays an integral role in synaptic plasticity, which is a neuronal mechanism believed to be the basis of memory formation.

Source: Friends actor Matthew Perry died of Ketamine overdose: How harmful is this drug? Here’s all you need to know