Introduction: Although used as an anesthetic drug for decades, ketamine appears to have garnered renewed interest due to its potential therapeutic uses in pain therapy, neurology, and psychiatry. Ketamine undergoes extensive oxidative metabolism by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes. Considerable efforts have been expended to elucidate the ketamine-induced regulation of CYP gene expression. The safety profile of chronic ketamine administration is still unclear. Understanding how ketamine regulates CYP gene expression is clinically meaningful. Areas covered: In this article, the authors provide a brief review of clinical applications of ketamine and its metabolism by CYP enzymes. We discuss the effects of ketamine on the regulation of CYP gene expression, exploring aspects of cytoskeletal remodeling, mitochondrial functions, and calcium homeostasis. Expert opinion: Ketamine may inhibit CYP gene expression through inhibiting calcium signaling, decreasing ATP levels, producing excessive reactive oxygen species, and subsequently perturbing cytoskeletal dynamics. Further research is still needed to avoid possible ketamine–drug interactions during long-term use in the clinic.
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