What is ketamine?


Generic Name: Ketamine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Know the basics

What is ketamine used for?

Ketamine is an anesthetic medication.

Ketamine is used to put you to sleep for surgery and to prevent pain and discomfort during certain medical tests or procedures.

Ketamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

How should I take ketamine?

Ketamine is injected into a muscle, or into a vein through an IV. You will receive this injection in a clinic or hospital setting.

Your breathing, blood pressure, heart function, and other vital signs will be watched closely while you are receiving ketamine.

You may feel strange or slightly confused when you first come out of anesthesia. Tell your caregivers if these feelings are severe or unpleasant.

You may be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not fully understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles, IV tubing, and other items used to inject the medicine.

How do I store ketamine?

Ketamine is best stored in the refrigerator. To prevent drug damage, do not freeze. There may be different brands of ketamine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush ketamine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Know the precautions & warnings

What should I know before using ketamine?

Before using this medication, tell your doctor if you:

  • are allergic to it;
  • have untreated or uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • have used an MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days. A dangerous drug interaction could occur. MAO inhibitors include isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine, and others.
  • Have heart disease;
  • Have high blood pressure;
  • Have a history of alcoholism;
  • if you recently drank large amounts of alcohol.

Is it safe to take ketamine during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this medication during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking this medication. This medication is pregnancy risk category N according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Know the side effects

What are the side effects of ketamine?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Tell your caregivers at once if you have any of these serious side effects within 24 hours after you receive ketamine: severe confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts, or extreme fear.

Call your doctor at once if you have a serious side effect such as:

  • feeling like you might pass out;
  • slow heart rate, weak or shallow breathing;
  • pain or burning when you urinate;
  • jerky muscle movements that may look like convulsions.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • dream-like feeling;
  • blurred vision, double vision;
  • mild dizziness, drowsiness;
  • nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;
  • sleep problems (insomnia).

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Know the interactions

What drugs may interact with ketamine?

Ketamine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

  • Acrivastine, Bupropion, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Levothyroxine, Methadone, Morphine, Morphine Sulfate Liposome, Oxycodone, Oxymorphone, St John’s Wort, Suvorexant, Tapentadol, Tramadol, Atracurium.

Does food or alcohol interact with ketamine?

Ketamine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with ketamine?

Ketamine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have, especially:

  • Alcohol, excessive use;
  • Brain disease;
  • Drug abuse or dependence, history of;
  • Heart disease;
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure);
  • Respiratory depression (very slow breathing)—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.

Understand the Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. ALWAYS consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this medication.

What is the dose of Ketamine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Anesthesia:
Induction: 1 to 4.5 mg/kg; alternatively, 1 to 2 mg/kg at a rate of 0.5 mg/kg/min may be used. (2 mg/kg dose provides 5 to 10 minutes of surgical anesthesia within 30 seconds following injection).
Induction: 6.5 to 13 mg/kg; (9 to 13 mg/kg dose provides 12 to 25 minutes of surgical anesthesia within 3 to 4 minutes following injection).

What is the dose of Ketamine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Ketamine available?

Ketamine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

Injection, Intravenous, Intramuscular: 10 mg/mL, 50 mg/mL, 100 mg/mL.

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of ketamine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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