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Ketamine – A Narrative Review of Its Uses in Medicine, April 2015

BM Radvansky, S Puri, AN Sifonios, JD Eloy, V Le

Am J Ther 2015 Apr 24


One of the most fascinating drugs in the anesthesiologist’s armament is ketamine, an N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist with a myriad of uses. The drug is a dissociative anesthetic and has been used more often as an analgesic in numerous hospital units, outpatient pain clinics, and in the prehospital realm. It has been used to treat postoperative pain, chronic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, phantom limb pain, and other neuropathic conditions requiring analgesia. Research has also demonstrated its efficacy as an adjunct in psychotherapy, as a treatment for both depression and posttraumatic stress disorder, as a procedural sedative, and as a treatment for respiratory and neurologic conditions. Ketamine is not without its adverse effects, some of which can be mitigated with certain efforts. Such effects make it necessary for the clinician to use the drug only in situations where it will provide the greatest benefit with the fewest adverse effects. To the best of our knowledge, none of the reviews regarding ketamine have taken a comprehensive look at the drug’s uses in all territories of medicine. This review will serve to touch on its chemical data, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, medical uses, and adverse effects while focusing specifically on the drugs usage in anesthesia and analgesia.