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.
- 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.