HealthQuill Drugs Ketamine abuse leads to severe, irreversible bladder issues
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Ketamine abuse leads to severe, irreversible bladder issues


Ketamine use leads to severe bladder issues

HQ Team

April 24, 2024: Recreational use of Ketamine is on the rise as it is easily accessible and affordable. However, a concerning trend of this excessive use is serious and potentially irreversible damage to the urinary tract among users.

Ketamine is an anaesthetic, analgesic, and stimulant with psychedelic properties. It can be injected, snorted, ingested or smoked in a variety of forms. The effects are short-lived and tolerance to the drug quickly develops. It is sometimes prescribed for depression. Of extra concern is that it is touted as a ‘safe’ drug, with limited potential for overdose or dependence and few side effects.

Bladder issues

Chronic usage leads to a very painful bladder, frequency, incontinence, haematuria, upper tract obstruction and papillary necrosis.

‘Special K’ has recently been reported as the fourth most popular recreational (and sixth most commonly used) drug in the UK. Ketamine is very popular in some countries in the Far East and in Australia aided by cheap production.

Researchers call the excess usage symptoms as ketamine bladder syndrome or ketamine-induced cystitis. Besides bladder control issues, heavy exposure to ketamine can damage the lining of the bladder.

Due to the increased abuse, the BBC reports that there’s been a proliferation of speciality clinics to help young ketamine addicts and their bladder problems.

“Ketamine destroys the lining of the bladder, and that can have very serious consequences,” Urologist and member of the British Association of Urological Surgeons Mohammed Belal told the BBC. “I think we’ve seen a huge explosion of young people taking ketamine throughout the country, and that means that they come to see us with significant urinary symptoms and these symptoms can include going to the toilet every hour or even every half an hour.”

In the most severe cases, patients with malfunctioning bladders will have to get surgery to fix or reconstruct the lower urinary tract.

Elon Musk and Ketamine

The drug was recently in news due to talks of endorsement by Elon Musk, owner of Tesla and Twitter. He spoke about his own experiences of using the drug in an interview. He said he used it under medical prescription to manage what he called a “negative chemical state” similar to depression.

The recent death of Friends star Matthew Perry was blamed on the misuse of Ketamine drug.

Ketamine was approved as an anaesthetic and analgesic by the FDA in 1970 and was extended for treating depression. It was administered under medical supervision intravenously. In 2019, the FDA approved a nasal spray that contains a potent ketamine derivative called esketamine as a treatment for severe depression. But it’s more expensive, so many doctors simply prescribe the tried-and-tested anaesthetic off-label. And they are doing so increasingly often: data suggest that ketamine prescriptions in the United States rose more than fivefold from 2017 to 2022.





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