(2003; 31 pages) [French] [Spanish]
4.1 Ketamine (INN)
Ketamine, chemical name (±)-2-(2-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino) cyclohexanone, has not previously been reviewed by WHO. Ketamine is indicated to provide anaesthesia for short diagnostic and surgical procedures that do not require skeletal muscle relaxation. Its use in veterinary medicine must also be considered in relation to its control. Ketamine hydrochloride has been abused as a hallucinogen for almost 30 years. The drug produces effects similar to those of phencyclidine, but with a much shorter duration. Limited abuse by medical personnel has been reported in a number of countries. In recent years, the abuse of ketamine mixed with or presented as N,α-dimethyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy) phenethylamine (MDMA) has raised a serious concern in Europe. Ketamine abuse is reported from a number of countries in Asia, Europe and North America and it has already been placed under national control in several countries.
On the basis of the information presented above, the Committee recommended critical review of ketamine at a future meeting.