Ketamine, a no-prescription medication that acts similar to ecstasy, has become popular over the past few years. This is mainly due to its use by emergency room doctors and emergency medical technicians to quickly relieve patients of severe, life-threatening conditions (1). It is also known to be an anesthetic for minors and is available without a prescription in pharmacies. As it is a medication that is smoked, there are certain side effects of using it. These side effects are listed below.
Administration or How Ketamine is Taken.
Ketamine is usually injected or snuffed, but can also be smoked or ingested orally. Although the effects of ketamine tend to be weaker than that of directly injectable it, in some rare cases, it may be used as a date rape drug. If you have been prescribed or considering taking any of these drugs and suspect that you may be at risk for an overdose, contact your local emergency department immediately.
Some Side Effects of Using Ketamine
Although rare, ketamine can cause respiratory depression in some patients. This is a condition wherein a patient’s breathing becomes too shallow or rapid for him or her to take in enough oxygen. Respiratory depression is a common side effect of taking this drug and can often result in death if not treated in time. If your loved one suddenly begins to have trouble breathing or seems to be having difficulty, seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible (2).
Withdrawal Symptoms of Using Ketamine
There are several withdrawal symptoms that may occur when taking this drug. The most common include anxiety, shaking, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, agitation, insomnia, flu-like symptoms, and cold chills (3). Ketamine itself has no known long-term effects on the body, however, some harmful, long-term effects of this drug have been discovered. Long-term effects that some users are noticing include circulatory collapse, abnormal heart rhythms, convulsions, and coma. These effects of ketamine are only temporary and are generally reversible.
Long-term Effects of Using Ketamine
The long-term effects of Ketamine use are still being studied. Some experts feel that long-term side effects were completely avoided by regulating the amount of ketamine used during the therapy sessions (3a). This is to prevent the patient from abusing the drug. With some research findings, this could have possibly prevented several deaths that would have otherwise occurred due to excessive use of the drug. Even though no long-term effects of Ketamine have been noticed thus far, long-term treatment of this drug will still need to be researched in order to know its complete effects on the body (4).
Many people have been using ketamine for long periods of time without any negative effects being noted. Many also reported no effects at all (4a). However, since the effects of Ketamine only last for fifteen minutes to two hours, a higher dosage may be required to achieve the desired results. The maximum dosage of ketamine that can be administered to a human body is 400 milligrams per kilogram of body weight. Ketamine is highly addictive and very dangerous to consume as well. Therefore, the amount to be administered should not exceed the recommended maximum dosage of one gram per kilogram of body weight (5).
Common Short-term Effects of Ketamine
The most common and short-term effects of Ketamine are vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation (5a). While the short-term effects of Ketamine are considered minor compared to other strong drugs like Heroin, it is still considered a controlled substance, and patients that use Ketamine must abide by all local and federal laws. People that are undergoing long-term treatments with Ketamine should be monitored frequently by doctors and should report any and all changes in their feeling. Patients that exhibit signs of severe depression should be closely observed for depression-related symptoms (6).
Short-term memory loss is one of the more dangerous and serious side effects that can happen if you abuse Ketamine (7). Ketamine causes the same short-term memory loss that people experience when taking certain prescription pain killers such as Codeine, Percocet, and Demerol. The problem with Ketamine and codeine is that while they do not cause death or long-term health problems, they are very addicting. This is because ketamine allows a person to get high quickly and easily without a need to rest or relaxation. Because of this, people who are taking ketamine on a regular basis should consult their doctor about their long-term usage, as using this drug could potentially cause severe health problems.