December 18, 2023 – The autopsy report of 54-year-old actor Matthew Perry, conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office, has raised concerns about the potential risks of consuming Ketamine. Ketamine is traditionally used as an anesthetic in the operating room, but in recent times, it has been promoted as a potential treatment for depression and other mental illnesses.
Ketamine infusions can be administered in clinics, and products are widely available for oral use at home through telehealth platforms, although experts have differing opinions on the safety of home use. The autopsy results of the actor urge caution in determining when and by whom the drug should be consumed, and what specific „acute effects“ the drug could have. Keep reading to find out more.
What are the acute effects of Ketamine?
„In general, the acute effects of all drugs – including Ketamine – are short-term physiological effects,“ said Dr. Steven Radowitz, an internist and Chief Medical Officer at Nushama Psychedelic Wellness Center in New York City.
Radowitz spoke generally about Ketamine, not specifically about Perry’s case.
„In the case of Ketamine, the acute effects can include increased dissociation, nausea, loss of coordination, and a feeling of detachment from oneself. Some people may also experience an increase in blood pressure. Due to these physical effects, it is essential that Ketamine is always administered under medical supervision.“
„Buprenorphine – a medication for treating opioid dependence – which was also listed as a contributing condition in the coroner’s report, can ‚exacerbate respiratory depression that high doses of Ketamine can cause,‘ said another expert, Dr. David Mahjoubi, a board-certified anesthesiologist who founded the Ketamine Healing Clinic in Los Angeles. He also spoke generally and not specifically about the Perry case, but he warned against using more than prescribed.“
„If the coroner found large doses of Ketamine in his body, similar to those used in anesthesia, it is very likely that he took it at home in a non-clinical setting in the few hours or less before his death,“ said Radowitz.
What doctors should tell their patients
According to Mahjoubi, it is important for patients to use it only as prescribed and not exceed the dose. The administering or prescribing physician should have experience. Patients should be aware that they should not combine Ketamine with other drugs or substances that may cause drowsiness, such as alcohol, sleeping pills, anti-anxiety medications, or opiates. When taking Ketamine, patients should be in a safe environment, not in a bathtub or hot tub. According to Radowitz, proper patient education is crucial before receiving intravenous Ketamine therapy.
„We believe that success rates dramatically increase when patients begin their infusions with the proper preparation and follow up with integration therapy,“ using other approaches to complement the ketamine.
The most important thing to note is that Ketamine is safe when used under medical supervision, according to Radowitz.
„It has a safety history of over 50 years as an anesthetic, analgesic, and now for several years as a treatment for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I would advise patients to only seek out a reputable clinic where the doctor has extensive experience in the use of this medication and proper screening and monitoring protocols are in place. This should not be taken at home.“
Certain individuals should not take the medication, emphasized Radowitz, including those with diagnosed or suspected psychiatrically unstable conditions such as schizophrenia or uncontrolled psychoses.