Ketamine is one of the four medications that can be used to put people to sleep for surgery. It has been used since the 1970’s in adults and children for several uses in medicine. Ketamine is an old drug with a good safety profile in the right hands. I first started using ketamine was I was a resident in the early 1990’s. I would think that all anesthesiologists and ER physicians have used ketamine in their practice.
Clinics are not FDA approved, but medications are for specific uses. Once a medication is FDA approved for any indication, then that medication can be used for any reason that the physician thinks is appropriate. In order to have a medication approved for one purpose, it takes approximately 10 million dollars to make it through the FDA process. Like I said earlier, ketamine is an old medication. It is definitely off patent. Once a medication is off patent, then it would be impossible to recoup that 10-million-dollar investment, much less make a profit. For that reason, ketamine will never be FDA approved for treatment resistant depression, other mood disorders or pain disorders despite the wealth of research that shows how effective it is. It does not matter how strong the science is. It only matters if someone is willing to pay the 10 million to get through the FDA process. Currently, the pharmaceutical industry is working on a knock off of ketamine that they could patent. When that happens, then there will be multiple TV and magazine ads that bring this research to the public.