The Tragic Passing of Matthew Perry Is a Cautionary Tale for Ketamine Users
On Oct. 28, 2023, fans of the American and Canadian actor Matthew Perry mourned the news of his passing. The former ‘Friends’ star was beloved by many around the globe, both for his role as Chandler Bing on the hit TV series and his dedication to helping recovering addicts by turning his Malibu beach house into a sober living home for men.
A recovering addict himself, Perry often stated his hopes that he’d be remembered for his work combating addiction–in his own life and the lives of those around him–rather than his work in television.
In the official autopsy report released on Dec. 15, 2023, it was stated Perry’s cause of death was related to the “acute effects of ketamine”, though initially it was reported that Perry drowned in his hot tub due to unknown causes. The actor was receiving ketamine infusions for both severe depression and anxiety, conditions he had struggled with for the majority of his life.
According to a statement from the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, Psychotherapists & Practitioners (ASKP3), a typical antidepressant dose of 0.5mg/kg administered over 40 minutes produces peak plasma concentrations of 70-200 ng/ml compared to plasma concentrations of 2000-3000 ng/ml when used for surgical anesthesia. In the official toxicology reports, however, Perry’s plasma concentrations exceeded 3000 ng/ml, meaning he had 15 times the amount of ketamine in his system than what we would ever provide at our clinic.
The ASKP3 also states that while ketamine is not commonly reported to suppress respiration, such a high dose can cause someone to lose consciousness and drown, which is what appears to have happened in this specific case. It is important to note that Matthew Perry did not die of an overdose of ketamine, even though his dose was far beyond the therapeutic levels of what New Pathways and other health professionals use to treat mental health disorders. Had he not been in a hot tub, he would likely still be alive today.
While it is unclear where or from whom Perry acquired such a large dose of ketamine, New Pathways Clinic stands with the ASKP3 and urges those who use ketamine and those who are interested in it to only receive in-office treatment from a licensed medical professional.
Ketamine Therapy at New Pathways Clinic
At New Pathways Clinic, our team is dedicated to ensuring each ketamine infusion is administered safely in the right environment so that the patient will feel as secure as possible during the procedure.
Despite its initial introduction as an anesthetic, ketamine therapy has shown great promise in combatting treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and more mental health conditions.
Administered through an IV infusion, over the course of 40-60 minutes, IV ketamine infusion therapy at New Pathways offers a relaxing and positive experience for our patients. By blocking the NMDA receptor, ketamine infusions prompt the brain to increase the production of synaptic signaling proteins, Glutamate, in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is known to have a crucial role in a person’s ability to regulate their mood.
We hope that the medical community, patients and practitioners alike, will take this tragic news as a wake-up call, and tread more carefully in educating the public on the dangers of consuming ketamine in recreational doses and environments outside of the observance of medical professionals.
To learn more about our ketamine clinic or speak with a medical professional about a free consultation, you can contact us here. We look forward to standing alongside you, every step of the way, for a safe and comfortable healing experience.