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Ketamine is used as an anesthetic agent during surgical procedures.

How it works

Ketamine belongs to class of medications known as general anesthetics. It acts on the nervous system and induces sedation or sleep, immobility and marked analgesia.

Common side effects

Vomiting, Nausea, Shortness of breath, Hallucination, Increased saliva production, Injection site pain, Loss of appetite, Muscle twitching, Nightmare


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Expert advice

  • Do not eat or drink for at least six hours before administration of ketamine. 
  • Inform your doctor if you have history of alcoholism, drug abuse or addiction, mental health problem, glaucoma (increased pressure in eye), porphyria (inherited disease that affects the blood), fits. 
  • Ketamine should usually be combined with a painkiller when used for an operation on the chest or abdominal organs. 
  • Do not drink alcohol at least for 24 hours after surgical procedure, as it may worsen the side effects.
  • Do not drive or operate machines at least 24 hours after surgical procedure, as ketamine may make you feel dizzy or sleepy.
  • Avoid if Patients is allergic to ketamine or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if Patients is suffering from severe heart disease, who have recently suffered a stroke or serious head or brain injury
  • Avoid if Pregnant and lactating women.

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is ketamine addictive?
Ketamine addiction can occur if the drug is taken multiple times and may develop either a mental or physical dependence on the drug effects.
Q. Is ketamine an opiate/ narcotic/ stimulant/ controlled substance/ barbiturate?
No. Ketamine is a general anaesthetic and a controlled substance. It is not an opiate, barbiturate narcotic or stimulant.
Q. Is ketamine safe?
Ketamine is safe if used at prescribed doses for the prescribed duration as advised by your doctor.
Q. Is ketamine dangerous?
Ketamine is dangerous if taken at high doses. 
Q. Does ketamine make you lose weight?
Yes. Ketamine can cause loss of appetite and weight loss.

Content on this page was last updated on 03 October, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)