"Friends" star Matthew Perry died from the effects of the anesthetic ketamine, according to the Los Angeles coroner's office. Added to this were, among other things, drowning, heart disease and the effects of a drug used to treat opioid addictions, a report said. The death was an accident.
Perry had undergone ketamine therapy for depression and anxiety, according to media reports, which cited further information from the authority. The reports became public on Friday (local time). However, the last meeting before his death had been a week and a half ago.
Ketamine has been a proven anesthetic for decades. Some partygoers also use the drug as an illegal club drug. In addition, people with treatment-resistant depression can be treated with ketamine under certain conditions. The substance is administered either under the skin, intravenously or as a nasal spray (then as esketamine). The advantage is that the effect occurs quickly. The result of the administration is that patients are essentially disconnected from their environment for a while.
How exactly the antidepressant effect comes about has not yet been clarified, writes the Mainz University Hospital on its website. Several processes in the brain probably interacted and were triggered by a temporary change in glutamate levels. Side effects of ketamine include rising blood pressure and a higher heart rate.
When high on ketamine, people often experience hallucinations or dissociative states in which the body and mind seem to separate and reassemble.
Long battle with alcohol and drug addiction
Perry was found dead in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home in late October. He was only 54 years old. The actor had previously spoken publicly about his struggle with addiction to alcohol and drugs, among other things, and also wrote about it in his autobiography “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing,” published last year. For decades, addiction dominated his life, wrote Perry, who was never married and had no children.
In the 80s, Perry had his first television and film roles, including in the 1988 film drama "Jimmy Reardon" alongside River Phoenix. He made further film appearances in the comedy "Fools Rush In" (1997) with Salma Hayek, "A Date for Three" (1999) with Neve Campbell and "No Half Measures" (2000) with Bruce Willis and Rosanna Arquette . But his biggest success remained “Friends”.
The cult TV series about six young friends in New York was produced in the USA from 1994 to 2004. Perry, Courteney Cox, Matt LeBlanc, Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer starred. All six main actors came together again in 2021 for the special program “Friends: The Reunion”. Perry's death caused shock and sadness around the world, with his "Friends" co-stars speaking of an "unbelievable loss."