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Papers of the Week

2019 Oct 05

Eur J Pharmacol


Ketamine applications beyond anesthesia – A literature review.


Nowacka A, Borczyk M
Eur J Pharmacol. 2019 Oct 05; 860:172547.
PMID: 31348905.


Ketamine's clinical use began in the 1970s. Physicians benefited from its safety and ability to induce short-term anesthesia and analgesia. The psychodysleptic effects caused by the drug called its further clinical use into question. Despite these unpleasant effects, ketamine is still applied in veterinary medicine, field medicine, and specialist anesthesia. Recent intensive research brought into light new possible applications of this drug. It began to be used in acute, chronic and cancer pain management. Most interesting reports come from research on the antidepressive and antisuicidal properties of ketamine giving hope for the creation of an effective treatment for major depressive disorder. Other reports highlight the possible use of ketamine in treating addiction, asthma and preventing cancer growth. Besides clinical use, the drug is also applied to in animal model of schizophrenia. It seems that nowadays, with numerous possible applications, the use of ketamine has returned; to its former glory. Nevertheless, the drug must be used with caution because still the mechanisms by which it executes its functions and long-term effects of its use are not fully known. This review aims to discuss the well-known and new promising applications of ketamine.