"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Ketamine Health Risks: What You Should Know

Dec 18, 2023 – The autopsy report of the 54 yr old Friends Actor Matthew Perry was alerted to the possible risks by the Los Angeles County coroner on Friday Ketamine usea drug traditionally used as an anesthetic within the operating room but more recently also being touted as a possible treatment for depression and other mental illnesses.

Ketamine infusions might be administered in clinics; Products are also widely available through telehealth platforms for oral use at home, although experts disagree on the security of home use. Based on the outcomes of the actor's autopsy, ketamine experts are urging caution about when and by whom the drug is used, and what exact “acute effects” the drug might need. Read on to search out out more.

What are the acute effects of ketamine?

“In general, the acute effects of all medications – including ketamine – are short-term physiological effects,” said Dr. Steven Radowitz, a family physician in internal medicine and chief physician at Nushama Psychedelic Wellness Center in New York City.

Radowitz spoke about ketamine normally, not specifically concerning the Perry case.

“In the case of ketamine, the acute effects can include an increase in dissociation, nausea, loss of coordination and a feeling of detachment from oneself. Some people may also experience an increase in blood pressure. Because of these physical effects, it is imperative that ketamine is administered under medical supervision at all times.”

The Buprenorphine – a drug used to treat opioid addiction – which was also listed as a contributing condition within the coroner's report, can “increase the respiratory depression that high doses of ketamine can cause,” said one other expert, David Mahjoubi, MD, a board-certified physician anesthesiologist, who founded the Ketamine Healing Clinic in Los Angeles. He also spoke generally and never specifically concerning the Perry case. But the actor's case is a warning not to make use of greater than prescribed, he said.

“If the medical examiner found large doses of ketamine in his body similar to those used in anesthesia, it is very likely that he took it at home in a non-clinical setting in the few hours or less before his death,” Radowitz said.

What doctors should tell their patients

It is vital, Mahjoubi said, that patients only use it as prescribed and don't exceed that dose. The administering or prescribing doctor must have experience. It is vital that patients know not to mix ketamine with other medications or substances that could make you sleepy, corresponding to alcohol, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, or opiates. When taking ketamine, “patients should be in a safe environment,” Mahjoubi said, “not in a bathtub or hot tub.” (Drowning was listed within the coroner's explanation for death report, together with coronary heart disease and buprenorphine, as other major medical conditions that contributed to Perry's contributed to death.)

According to Radowitz, proper patient education is critical before receiving intravenous ketamine therapy.

“We believe that success rates increase dramatically when patients begin their infusions with proper preparation and follow the infusions with ongoing integration therapy [using other approaches to complement the ketamine].”

The big snack

The key takeaway here is that ketamine is secure when used under medical supervision, Radowitz said.

“There is over 50 years of safety history as an anesthetic, analgesic and now for several years as a treatment for depression, anxiety and PTSD. I would advise patients to only visit a reputable clinic where the doctor has extensive experience in the use of this medication and proper screening and monitoring protocols are in place. This should not be taken at home.”

Certain people mustn't take the drug, Radowitz emphasized, including individuals with diagnosed or suspected psychiatrically unstable illnesses corresponding to schizophrenia or uncontrolled psychoses.