Ketamine is a medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as dissociative anesthetics. It was originally developed as an anesthetic and has been used in medical settings for many years to induce anesthesia during surgical procedures.
Ketamine works by affecting certain receptors in the brain, particularly the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. It blocks the activity of these receptors, leading to a dissociative state where the person may feel detached from their body or surroundings. This dissociation is why ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic.
In addition to its anesthetic properties, ketamine has also shown potential therapeutic effects in the treatment of certain mental health conditions. Studies have indicated that it may have rapid-acting antidepressant effects, particularly in individuals with treatment-resistant depression. It is believed that ketamine's modulation of the NMDA receptors and its impact on other neurotransmitters in the brain contribute to these antidepressant effects.
Ketamine can be administered in various ways, including intravenous (IV) infusion, intramuscular injection, oral tablets, and nasal spray.
In recent years, ketamine nasal spray has gained attention for its potential therapeutic use in treating certain mental health conditions, particularly treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation. The nasal spray allows for convenient and precise administration of ketamine.
When used for mental health purposes, ketamine nasal spray is typically administered in lower doses than those used for anesthesia. It is believed to work by influencing the brain's neurotransmitters, specifically targeting the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. This modulation of the NMDA receptors may help regulate certain brain pathways involved in mood and depression.