Ketamine is a medication that was FDA-approved as an anesthetic in the 1970s. It is used in hospitals for surgeries and other medical procedures and has been shown to be a physically safe anesthetic because it doesn’t suppress breathing. Ketamine also has analgesic (pain control) properties and dissociative effects that help people go through surgeries. Recently, ketamine has garnered more attention as researchers study ketamine’s antidepressant effects.
In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved esketamine, a nasal spray called Spravato, used for treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine has yet to be approved by the FDA but is still used as a fast-acting antidepressant, treating symptoms of treatment-resistant depression.