Ketamine: Psych effects

Basic, Basic Sciences

Ketamine dissociates the limbic system and cortex from sensory impulses by antagonizing the NMDA receptor from glutamate. The patient may appear conscious but cannot process any sensory input. It is known to cause hallucinations along with amnesia and analgesia. Typically patients describe mental images, which they described as a dream, movie, or cartoon which may be paranoid in nature. The incidence of hallucinations may be decreased with concurrent administration of midazolam. Ketamine infusions are also used in treatment-resistant depression, though the mechanism for this effect remains unclear.




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Michael Luu, MD