Health Guide

Ketamine (By injection)

Ketamine (KEE-ta-meen)

Given before surgery or a medical procedure.

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. You should not receive this medicine if you had an allergic reaction to ketamine.

How to Use This Medicine:


  • A nurse or other health provider will give you this medicine. It is given as a shot into a muscle or vein.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Some medicines and foods can affect how ketamine works. Tell your doctor if you are using narcotic pain medicine or a barbiturate.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have heart failure, heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems such as asthma, or increased spinal fluid pressure. Tell your doctor if you have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or if you drink alcohol daily.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy, drowsy, or confused for several hours. If you had outpatient surgery, you will need someone to drive you home. Wait at least 24 hours after you receive this medicine before you drive, use machines, or do anything else that could be dangerous.
  • This medicine may cause you to have unusual thoughts or behaviors after your surgery or procedure. You might feel confused or excited, or you might see or hear things that are not really there. Call your doctor if these thoughts or behaviors are severe or last longer than 24 hours.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bloody or cloudy urine, difficult or painful urination
  • Fast, slow, or uneven heartbeat
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • Muscle stiffness, muscle spasm, or seizure
  • Unusual thoughts or behavior, severe confusion, dreaming while awake, or seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Double vision or uncontrolled eye movements
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • Redness, pain, or blistering where the shot was given

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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