WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence – WHO Technical Report Series, No. 915 – Thirty-third Report
(2003; 31 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Scheduling criteria
Open this folder and view contents3. Critical review of psychoactive substances
Close this folder4. Pre-review of psychoactive substances
View the document4.1 Ketamine (INN)
View the document4.2 Zaleplon (INN)
View the document4.3 Zopiclone (INN)
View the document4.4 Butorphanol (INN)
View the document4.5 Oripavine
View the document4.6 Khat
View the document5. Terminology used in reporting abuse-related adverse drug reactions
View the document6. Other matters
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentReferences
View the documentAnnex Terminology used in reporting abuse-related adverse drug reactions

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.

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