Ketamine, an n-methyl-d-aspartic acid receptor complex antagonist, has been used as an anesthetic and/or analgesic. However, in the past decade, ketamine has been illegally available as a recreational drug in Asian countries and Taiwan. Due to the characteristic of being short-acting, youngsters widely assume that ketamine is not as harmful as other drugs, such as heroin. Consequently, many young patients used this drug for a longer duration before they presented with severe urinary frequency and urgency symptoms. Subsequently, other cases have been reported in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Europe. Ketamine abuse is increasing, with rates of 0.30% in 2006 to 0.40% in 2007 among those in the 16-59 year age group. In general, affected patients tend to be young with a peak age range of 16-35 years. The incidence of lower urinary tract symptoms in ketamine abuse patients is around 30%. The actual underlying pathomechanism of ketamine cystitis (KC) and associated pelvic pain remains unclear. It is speculated that chronic contact and stimulation to the bladder or ureteral mucosa due to metabolites of ketamine will result in submucosal edema, vascular ectasia, fibrosis, detrusor muscle inflammation, and fibrosis. Presentations of KC include remarkable dysuria, urinary frequency/urgency, urge incontinence, and bladder pain. Urine culture usually fails to yield any microbiology in KC with bladder pain alone. The majority of patients can enjoy clinical improvement after cessation of ketamine and urological treatment similar to interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). However, patients who are still abusing ketamine and/or who have a longer duration of ketamine abuse might suffer from severe bladder pain, which does not respond to empirical oral or intravesical treatments such as hyaluronic acid. Among these patients, most have a remarkably impaired quality of life and are at risk of developing upper urinary tract damage, including hydronephrosis and kidney injury. To reduce bladder pain, improve quality of life, and avoid further deterioration of renal function, surgical intervention might be indicated.
Tsai, Y. C., & Kuo, H. C. (2015, September 1). Ketamine cystitis: Its urological impact and management. Urological Science. Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.urols.2014.11.003