Ketamine is still the drug of choice for induction to anesthesia, and in some countries for maintaining anesthesia in small animals during short surgeries.
The primary effects of ketamine are pain relief and sedation. The effect of ketamine starts within 5 minutes and can last around 25 minutes. Ketamine belongs to the class of dissociative anesthetics which means that it can cause psychological reactions and trance-like state when the animals wake up. This is the reason why ketamine is so much abused by humans. In the “party world”, ketamine is known as Special K and it is used and abused as a party drug because of these properties.
The mechanism of action of ketamine is the following:
– ketamine is an antagonist at the glutamate NMDA receptors
– ketamine is an antagonist at the muscarinic receptors
– ketamine is the agonist at the opioid receptors and that provides deep analgesia.
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