Ketamine pp 1-14 | Cite as

Ketamine Abuse: Past and Present

  • Ming-Chyi Huang
  • Shih-Ku LinEmail author


Ketamine is an anesthetic derivative of phencyclidine with dissociative, analgesic, and psychedelic properties. It is extensively used as an anesthetic drug in surgical procedures in pediatric, obstetric, and geriatric patients, as well as in veterinary settings. Since its approval for clinical use, the misuse and abuse of ketamine have been reported in scientific journals and in popular media globally, particularly in the last two decades. It has been used as a common club drug in dance, rave, and squat party scenes. Owing to its unique pharmacological properties, ketamine has been used as an antidepressant for the treatment of resistant depression. However, a long-term use of high doses of ketamine leads to numerous physical and psychological negative effects, such as abdominal pain, urinary system disorder, dependence/tolerance/withdrawal, cognitive impairment, psychosis, and depression. At present, no effective pharmacotherapy for managing compulsive drug-seeking behavior in patients with ketamine use disorder is available. Treatment that incorporates regular urine screening in addition to medications for psychiatric symptoms and craving may present favorable results.


Abuse K-hole Physical consequence Psychological consequence Regulation Treatment 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Addiction SciencesTaipei City Psychiatric Center, Taipei City HospitalTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatrySchool of Medicine, College of Medicine, Taipei Medical UniversityTaipeiTaiwan

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