In a tragic turn of events, Matthew Perry, the beloved star of the iconic “Friends” sitcom, passed away at the age of 54. According to the autopsy report from the Los Angeles County medical examiner released on Friday, Perry’s death was attributed to the “acute effects of ketamine.”
The actor was discovered unresponsive at his residence on Oct. 28, floating face down in the heated end of the pool, as detailed in the autopsy report. The report deems his death accidental, ruling out foul play. The primary cause of death is cited as the “acute effects of ketamine,” with contributing factors including drowning, coronary artery disease, and the effects of buprenorphine, a medication used to treat opioid use disorder.
Witnesses reported that Perry had played pickleball around 11 a.m. on the day of his demise and returned home two hours later. His assistant, the last person to see him alive, left for errands and found Perry deceased upon returning. Police pronounced him dead at 4:17 p.m.
The autopsy reveals that Perry had a history of addiction, although he had reportedly been clean for 19 months. He was undergoing ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety, with his last treatment occurring a week and a half before his passing. Witnesses stated that Perry had been responding well to treatment and was in good spirits.
Despite being an FDA-approved anesthetic since the 1970s with potential benefits for depression and anxiety, ketamine carries risks due to its dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Perry, who rose to fame as Chandler Bing on “Friends,” had traces of ketamine in his stomach, but high levels were found in his blood (3.54 micrograms per milliliter). The autopsy report suggests that his cause of death was unrelated to prior infusion therapy but rather from ketamine taken in another manner, though the specifics remain unknown.
Perry’s struggles with addiction were well-documented, and he candidly shared his journey in his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing,” released last year. He emphasized the importance of understanding addiction as a disease and encouraged those facing similar challenges to seek help without self-blame. The actor’s untimely death has left fans mourning the loss of a talented and beloved entertainer.
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What IS Ketamine??
Ketamine, initially recognized as a dissociative anesthetic employed for inducing anesthesia, has found new applications in the medical realm, particularly in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression, as highlighted by StatPearls, an online resource within the National Library of Medicine.
In recent years, the evolving use of ketamine has extended beyond its traditional role in anesthesia. Notably, it has been explored as a potential treatment for individuals facing treatment-resistant depression, offering a new avenue in the quest for therapeutic solutions.
However, as noted by the American Addiction Centers, ketamine is not without its challenges. Despite its medical applications, there exists a recognized “potential for recreational misuse.” This underscores the need for caution and responsible use, given the substance’s dissociative and, at times, hallucinogenic effects.
The dual nature of ketamine, serving both medical and recreational purposes, highlights the complexity surrounding its use. As the medical community continues to explore its potential benefits, it becomes imperative to strike a balance that maximizes therapeutic advantages while mitigating risks associated with misuse.
Potential Risk Of Ketamine Therapy
According to the insights provided by American Addiction Centers, instances of death resulting from a ketamine overdose are rare, particularly when ketamine is the sole substance involved.
Estimates from the StatPearls journal, housed in the National Library of Medicine, suggest that the lethal dose of ketamine is approximately 5.6 milligrams per pound for an individual weighing 154 pounds.
However, the considerations surrounding ketamine use extend beyond its potential for fatal overdose. Dr. John Crystal, co-director of the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation, emphasized in a November interview with Eva Pilgrim that ketamine therapy is not recommended for individuals with schizophrenia or those in the midst of developing a psychiatric illness.
These cautionary notes underscore the need for a careful and informed approach when considering ketamine therapy, recognizing both its potential benefits and associated risks, particularly in the context of an individual’s medical and psychiatric history.