Ketamine is a drug that is regularly used as a surgical anesthetic. It is also used for treatment-resistant depression, suicidal ideation, and pain. Ketamine also has a history of abuse as a street drug to induce hallucinations.
Also known as ketamine hydrochloride, ketamine is widely considered a valuable anesthesia drug because it induces short-term sedation without slowing heart rate or breathing. Ketamine is approved for use in children as young as 3 months old.
Ketamine and Treatment-Resistant Depression
Ketamine is FDA-approved as an anesthetic. However, it is also used off-lael to treat mental health conditions, notably depression that has not improved with other treatments and drugs. Additionally, the administration of ketamine injections to patients with suicidal ideations has shown great promise as an acute, rapid therapy.
Recent studies show that intravenous delivery of small doses of ketamine appears to produce rapid results in the treatment of depression.
In 2019, the FDA approved a nasal spray version of ketamine called esketamine(brand name Spravato®) as a depression treatment with an oral antidepressant.