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J Psychopharmacol. 1992 Jan;6(3):418-24. doi: 10.1177/026988119200600312.

Chemical dissociation of human awareness: focus on non-competitive NMDA receptor antagonists.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0626, USA.


Since the mid-1950s the pharmaceutical industry has developed a number of chemicals, including phencyclidine, ketamine and related arylcyclohexylamines (PCE and TCP), dizocilpine (MK-801), N-allylnormetazocine [ NANM, (±)SKF-10,047], etoxadrol, dioxadrol and its enantiomers dexoxadrol and levoxadrol, which produce a constellation of unusual behavioral effects in animals and man. The compounds best studied in humans are phencyclidine and ketamine. They produce a remarkable dose-dependent dissociation of awareness. All of these substances are now known to be non-competitive antagonists of NMDA receptors of glutamic acid. They act in the NMDA receptor ion channel. One can conclude, on the basis of the effects observed with these agents, that glutamic acid and related excitatory amino acids are extremely important in the maintenance of human awareness.

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