Phencyclidine (PCP)

  • Marc A. Schuckit
Part of the Critical Issues in Psychiatry book series (CIPS)


The history of PCP [1–1(phenylcyclohexyl) pipiridine] and of similar substances is a good example of how street drugs often follow fads. After the appearance of this drug on the streets in the 1960s, use patterns have waxed and waned over the years, with large differences across cities.1,2 Analogues of PCP were first introduced as general anesthetics in the 1950s (PCP as Sernyl or Sernylan, and ketamine as Ketalar, Ketaject, and Ketavet). In more recent years, this group has also included experimental drugs such as dizocilpine and cyclohexamine.2,3 PCP-like drugs have the benefit of allowing anesthesia (lack of pain) through a dissociative state in which the subject is not in a deep “coma,” thus producing relatively little depression of blood pressure, respiration, and other vital signs.2,4 However, by 1965, PCP itself was no longer used for anesthesia in humans because approximately 20% of patients developed agitation, often with hallucinations, during the immediate postoperative period.1,2 Currently, less potent analogues of PCP (e. g., ketamine) are still used in human anesthesia but are no longer marketed for veterinary medicine.


NMDA Receptor Psychotic Symptom High School Senior Toxic Reaction Biological Psychiatry 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marc A. Schuckit
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California Medical School and Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare SystemSan DiegoUSA

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