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Ketamine is a medication that’s primarily used to induce and maintain anesthesia. It produces a trance-like state as well as pain relief and sedation. Many who have used this medication have wondered, “how long does ketamine stay in your system?” If you take any medication, understanding its duration in the body can help you stay safe from intoxication and negative drug interactions. Keep reading to learn more about ketamine’s half-life and its elimination time.
Ketamine is a dissociative drug that medical practitioners and veterinarians use as an anesthetic. It’s usually administered by injection into a vein (intravenously, or IV) or muscle (intramuscular injection, or IM).
A ketamine nasal spray has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment-resistant depression. At lower doses, ketamine produces pain relief and sedation, while it produces dissociation and hallucinations in higher doses.
Sometimes ketamine is abused for the hallucinatory impact it has on the mind. Many are attracted to the sedation that it causes but are ignorant of the long-term dangers of drug use.
Common side effects of ketamine include:
How quickly ketamine kicks in and how long the effects last depends on the way it’s administered. When snorted, effects kick in within 5 to 15 minutes (this is the most common method of ketamine abuse.)
When it’s injected, ketamine yields an immediate response with side effects kicking in within seconds to minutes. People who take the drug orally may experience side effects between 5 and 30 minutes after.
The effects of ketamine typically last about 1 to 2 hours, but symptoms like impaired judgment, senses, and reduced coordination may linger for up to 24 hours. These sensations may also include the feeling of floating, stimulation, and visual side effects (visual hallucinations.)
The half-life of ketamine is around 45 minutes. A drug’s half-life is the length of time it takes for half of it to be eliminated from the body.
With a half-life of about 45 minutes, ketamine stays in the body for about 4 hours and 30 minutes. However, this is just an average for healthy adults.
Various factors affect how long ketamine lasts in the body, including:
After administration, ketamine is immediately metabolized by the liver into less active metabolites, which is why people with liver disease or problems may take longer to eliminate this drug than those who do not. Most of the drug is then excreted in the urine in the form of metabolites.
Furthermore, while ketamine metabolites do form in the body during processing, these have a shorter half-life than the drug itself. For most people, the majority of the drug is out of their body within 24 hours.
Drug tests are often used by government agencies, employers, or industries that subject employees to random drug testing to make sure they can do their jobs safely. Common drug tests do not detect ketamine.
However, tests that are created to specifically detect this drug will. If a person suspects that someone is abusing ketamine, then they may order a specialized test.
The detection window for a ketamine drug test varies depending on the area of the body being tested. Usually, hair is the area in which drugs can be detected for the longest period.
Below are the estimated detection windows for a Special-K drug test:
Not only does ketamine show up on a drug test (specialized ones, at least), but it’s important to understand how long it remains in the body simply to avoid interactions with other medications or alcohol. Oftentimes, people mix their medications accidentally because they have something in their system already, or they drink alcohol thinking that their medication has been eliminated from their system.
Moreover, how long a drug remains in your body is usually a determining element in the dose and frequency it is prescribed. This is an important factor in preventing overdose.
It’s also important to always ask your doctor about your medication’s side effects, duration of time in the body, and any other substances you should avoid during treatment. Although ketamine isn’t addictive in the way cocaine or opioids are, a person can become dependent on the pain relief and high it produces to feel content.
In addition to dependence, long-term ketamine abuse can result in psychological side effects like decreased sociability, mood swings, impaired memory recall, attention deficit or dysfunction, and more. Hallucinogens and dissociative drugs are also associated with flashbacks or recurrences of hallucinations, psychosis, and other disturbing side effects long after drug use is ceased.
Ketamine is also sometimes used to facilitate sexual assault, which is why it’s sometimes referred to as a date rape drug. If you or a loved one is engaging in substance abuse of any kind, contact our Pompano treatment center for help.
Among our several levels of substance abuse treatment are partial hospitalization and outpatient programs designed to not only help patients recover but also to help them transition to a drug-free lifestyle. We understand how stressful this process can be, which is why our specialists help patients through every step of their treatment.
To learn more about our addiction and mental health treatment in Pompano Beach, call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763.