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Potential uses and abuses of ketamine

Any drug has the potential to become dangerous if not used correctly. The addiction epidemic currently sweeping the United States, including Louisiana, stems in part from doctors overprescribing medications and/or patients not following their doctor’s instructions. However, addiction is only one possible consequence of the misuse of medication. If you have certain medical conditions, a particular drug may have contraindications for you, meaning that even if other people benefit from taking the drug, your doctor should not prescribe it to you because it may do you more harm than good. 

Ketamine is a class III drug which, according to the American Addiction Centers, includes both narcotic and non-narcotic medications that have a moderate potential for abuse due to psychological or physical dependence but also may provide some benefit to patients and are therefore only available to patients with a doctor’s prescription.

According to Medical News Today, the most common use for ketamine is in veterinary medicine, but it can also have therapeutic benefits for humans. Ketamine is a sedative and, depending on its use, it can produce relaxation, relieve pain and induce general anesthesia. While some doctors have prescribed ketamine as a treatment for depression, the FDA has not approved it for this purpose, and this use is therefore controversial.

While some anesthetics can lower breathing rate or reduce blood pressure, ketamine does not carry these risks. However, ketamine does have the potential to increase blood pressure and pressure within the skull. Patients with glaucoma, brain tumors or intracranial swelling must not receive ketamine, and doctors should proceed with caution when administering ketamine to patients high blood pressure, acute alcohol intoxication or chronic alcohol addiction, aneurysm, thyroid disease, coronary artery disease or chest pain. 

Despite its potential therapeutic uses, there is also a documented history of abuse of ketamine on the club scene because of its hallucinogenic properties and ability to induce relaxation.

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