News reports have surfaced, revealing that beloved Friends star Matthew Perry met an untimely end due to the “acute effects” of ketamine, a drug known for its use in anesthesia and certain antidepressants. Beyond its medicinal applications, ketamine is also notorious as a psychedelic party drug among those engaging in substance abuse.
Perry, who had been undergoing ketamine infusion therapy for depression, had significantly reduced his intake leading up to his demise. The last known infusion occurred a week-and-a-half before his death. According to the Los Angeles County medical examiner, a potential ketamine overdose may have led to “cardiovascular overstimulation and respiratory depression.” Perry’s pre-existing conditions, including diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, could have further complicated his respiratory issues.
Ketamine: From Anesthesia to Depression Treatment
American chemist Calvin L Stevens synthesized ketamine in 1962, initially intended for use as an animal and human anesthetic. During the late 1960s and the Vietnam War era, it found application in surgeries. Derived from the hallucinogenic drug Phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine works by blocking the NMDA receptor in the brain and spinal cord, increasing the neurotransmitter glutamate. Once employed primarily for alleviating pain, ketamine evolved into a hopeful remedy for severe depression, thanks to its uplifting qualities.
The Impact of Ketamine Overdose on the Heart and Organs
Given its relaxant properties, ketamine can complicate breathing, leading to shallow breaths and lung collapse. This places increased demands on the heart, speeding up heart rate and blood pressure. Compromised arteries may struggle to keep pace, resulting in stress and, potentially, sudden cardiac arrest. Ketamine is toxic to the urinary bladder and liver, and unregulated high doses can contribute to schizophrenia and drug dependence. Fatalities become more likely when ketamine is combined with alcohol, a scenario that may have played a role in Perry’s case.
Ketamine’s Efficacy in Depression Treatment
Back in 2006, scientists at the National Institutes of Health stumbled upon a game-changer: intravenous ketamine, unlike the usual treatments, swiftly eased severe depression. Subsequently, in 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a nasal spray as the first antidepressant based on ketamine, marking a significant advancement in depression treatment.
Avinash Poojari is the owner of ComClone News website. He is an accomplished author specializing in the field of information technology. With a Master’s degree in Information Technology, Avinash hails from Mumbai. Passionate about researching breaking news, he is dedicated to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.