Ketamine’s high safety index was recognized early. It earned a name as the “buddy drug” in the Vietnam war. It was given to soldiers to administer to each other in case of injuries until they could be transported to receive more intensive medical services. This does not mean, however, that Ketamine is free of side effects. Like any other medicine, it also has a list of potential side effects. For this reason, it is necessary for health care professionals to monitor its use.
Ketamine has significantly more side effects when it is used at anesthetic doses. When used for mental health treatment, however, Ketamine is used in sub-anesthetic doses. At these levels, it can produce psychedelic effects which, without adequate preparation, can be scary.
Ketamine can be used orally, sublingually (under the tongue), intravenously, or intramuscularly. All of these routes of administration have their pros and cons, and different types of administration are suitable for different scenarios.
Ketamine is used as a mental health treatment by anesthesiologists, emergency room physicians, and psychiatrists. Anesthesiologists and emergency room physicians also use it for pain control during various procedures.