By Alfa · May 17, 2005 · ·
  1. Alfa

    * An overdose of ketamine can lead to respiratory failure and paralysis

    * The drug has gained popularity as a "club drug" among teenagers and young adults

    Drug Users Should Think Thrice If They Shift From Shabu to Using Anesthetic Drug.

    The Bureau of Food and Drugs (Bfad) said aside from its hypnotic side effects, an overdose of ketamine, a generic term for an anesthetic drugs, can lead to respiratory failure and paralysis.

    When one is caught buying ketamine over-the-counter in drug stores or using the drugs without prescription, they could end up in jail, said Senior Police Officer 4 Ernesto Gonzales, chief of the City Anti-Illegal Drugs Special Operations Task Group.

    Also known by its street name as jet, super acid, Special "K," green, K and cat Valium, the drug has gained popularity as a "club drug"

    among teenagers and young adults.

    Bfad representative Mary Helen Garingalao said though they haven't received guidelines on the classification status of this drug, it should not be sold over-the-counter.

    "It really needs prescription because it is a regulated drug," she said.

    Based on research, the drug comes in a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder form. It is a tranquilizer most commonly used on animals.

    The liquid form can be injected, consumed in drinks, or added to smokeable materials while the powder form can be used for injection when dissolved. In certain areas, ketamine is being injected intramuscularly.

    Ketamine, along with the other "club drugs," has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and "raves."

    The drug is marketed as a dissociative general anesthetic for human and veterinary use. The only known source of ketamine is via diversion of pharmaceutical products.

    Recent reports indicate that a significant number of veterinary clinics are being robbed specifically for their ketamine stock.

    DEA reports indicated that a major source of ketamine in the United States is product diverted from pharmacies in Mexico.

    Prices of the drug in the market ranges from $20-25 per dosage unit.

    Higher doses produce will lead to a "K-Hole" experience that is sometimes referred to as an "out of body," or "near-death" experience.

    Use of the drug can cause delirium, amnesia, depression, and long-term memory and cognitive difficulties. Due to its dissociative effect, it is reportedly used as a date-rape drug.

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  1. Alfa

    A MEDICINE is meant to cure or alleviate a specific pain or disease.

    Any medicine, whether injected, externally applied or orally taken, is carefully studied by drug experts before they are distributed to the public. But while medicines are intended to relieve a patient's condition, it can result in death if misused.

    Medicines are categorized not only according to use but also whether they are hazardous to one's health or not.

    This now becomes the major concern of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB).

    In the Philippines, the sale of a few drugs like Bextra, Alfentanil, and Dihydrocodeine has been prohibited in the country due adverse side effects that a patient may suffer after excessive intake. And just recently, another drug was added in the record.

    DDB discovered that ketamine, an anesthetic, is fast becoming an abused drug in the country today.

    According to Dr. Rommel Garcia, DDB deputy director for administration, ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic used primarily in operative procedures. It is injected in the vein in order to produce analgesia that serves as pain reliever.

    Ketamine is also used by anesthesiologists for internal fixation of bone fractures and in dressing and cleaning of wounds. In some cases, it is also used by veterinarians on animals.

    Garcia said a 30-ml ketamine vial should be given only once in the whole operating process. Beyond a single dosage, the patient will eventually suffer several side effects like hallucination, having undesirable dreams, disturbance in perception, increase in blood and intra-cranial pressure, a decrease in respiratory rate and even death if not controlled.

    Considering the aid and relief that patients get from ketamine, no wonder it is among the most reliable anesthetic most doctors trust.

    However, since there are reports that ketamine is being abused, the technical working group on classification and reclassification of drugs spearheaded by Garcia urged the DDB to include ketamine in the dangerous drugs list.

    The proposal was approved by the DDB board and shall be effective 15 days from publication.

    "Ketamine is not prohibited before, until we discovered that is it now being abused by many. In fact, in December 2003, we confiscated 7,000 ketamine vials and 1kg ketamine powder. And last March, ketamine drugs amounting to US$3 million were seized in a hotel in Malate," Garcia added.

    Alarmed by the growing ketamine abuse, the group of drug specialists working under DDB conducted studies, a series of meetings and public hearings until they came up with a consensus that ketamine ha to be added in the list of dangerous pharmaceutical products.

    The public hearings were attended by professional groups like the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Drugstores Association of the Philippines (DAP), Philippine Association of Pharmacists and Pharmaceutical Industry (Pappi), and even the academe or the Association of the Deans of Colleges of Pharmacy.

    The inclusion of the anesthetic in the dangerous drugs list doesn't mean that the sale of ketamine is banned in the country. People can still purchase the anesthetic provided that they present a valid prescription from licensed physicians.

    Garcia said a certain medicine is only considered dangerous if it is intended for abuse.

    Ketamine stocks in the country are being imported from India where they are said to be cheapest. Sold at about P300 per vial, only medical practitioners are authorized to use ketamine in the surgical operations.
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