A general anesthetic given intravenously or intramuscularly and used especially for minor surgical procedures in which muscle relaxation is not required.
- general anesthetic and tranquilizer.
- NMDA receptor antagonists, a class of anesthetics that work to antagonize, or inhibit the action of, the N-methyl d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR).
Ketamine, like other NMDA receptor antagonists induces a state called dissociative anesthesia, marked by catalepsy (a trancelike state with loss of voluntary motion and failure to react to stimuli), amnesia, and analgesia.
Ketamine and other NMDA receptor antagonists are most frequently used in conjunction with diazepam (a sedative and anti-anxiety medication) as anesthesia in some surgeries such as, cosmetic or reconstructive plastic surgery. It is also used in the treatment of burn victims.
Ketamine is a favored anesthetic for emergency patients with unknown medical history because it depresses breathing and circulation less than other anesthetics.