Preferred Sample Type


Suitable Specimen Types

  • Serum
  • EDTA Plasma
  • Li Hep Plasma
A minimum of 500 µl of plasma/serum is required.

Specimen Transport

First class post

Sample Processing in Laboratory

Place sample in toxicology rack.

Sample Preparation

None required

Turnaround Time

3 days.

Sample Stability

Keep refrigerated. 4 degrees.


General Information

Ketamine is a weakly basic amino compound which is used as an anesthetic induction agent. It is structurally and pharmacologically related to phenylcyclidine (PCP), a drug which failed clinical trials due to its unpleasant side effects during anaesthetic recovery but became a popular street drug. Ketamine has also received attention as a drug of abuse.

Adverse reactions to ketamine include hallucinations, delerium, irrational behavior, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting, respiratory stimulation or depression, tachycardia or bradycardia, hypertension or hypotension, seizures and cardiac arrhythmia. 

Please note, this assay is for the quantitative determination of ketamine in blood. Ketamine use may also be detected via our urinary Drugs of Abuse Screen by LC-MS/MS.

Patient Preparation

No patient preperation required.


Ketamine is measured by HPLC-DAD.

Reference Range

Therapeutic use of ketamine (i.v) for sedation is effective at average concentrations >0.6 mg/L. (Clarke's Analysis of Drugs & Poisons, Third Edition)


  • EQA Scheme?: Yes

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HTA licence number is 12366

Protection of Personal Information – Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection Policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and it’s employees to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

The Trust Laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital were awarded UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 standard in May 2015. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the test database
Tests not appearing on this scope are either under consideration or in the process of accreditation and so currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235

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