Tag Archives: history

Taming the Ketamine Tiger

A paper of great interest for those of us who spend a lot of time teaching the use of ketamine describes its history from initial synthesis in the early 1960s. Ketamine pioneer Edward F. Domino, M.D describes how it was first given to humans in 1964: ‘Our findings were remarkable! The overall incidence of side effects was about one out of three volunteers. Frank emergence delirium was minimal. Most of our subjects described strange experiences like a feeling of floating in outer space and having no feeling in their arms or legs.

Domino goes on to list interesting anecdotes in ketamine’s history, like how his wife came up with the term ‘dissociative anaesthetic’ and how physicians and their partners experimenting with ketamine in the 1970s tried communicating with dolphins, fell in love, and froze to death in a forest. The pharmacology of ketamine is described along with its effects on pain and even depression.
Taming the ketamine tiger.
Anesthesiology. 2010 Sep;113(3):678-84 Free Full Text