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  3. Ketamine Associated Ulcerative Cystitis.

Ketamine Associated Ulcerative Cystitis.

Background of Ketamine
Ulcerative Cystitis :

Image of Bladder
3D Illustration of Human Urinary System Bladder Anatomy

Patients using Ketamine as a drug of abuse, especially among adolescents, is an ongoing health care issue. Ketamine (Brand name Ketalar) is a dissociative anesthesia drug used in both humans and veterinary medicine. Ketamine is used to provide intense relief from pain, as well as a loss of awareness while maintaining respiratory and cardiovascular stability during surgical procedures.

Unfortunately, Ketamine is also a recreational drug aka a drug of abuse. On the street Ketamine is also known by common names of Vitamin K, Special K, or just K. Ketamine is also known as a “Date Rape” drug. People who chronically use the drug are prone to developing Ketamine Associated Ulcerative Cystitis which is one of the complications from prolonged use of Ketamine.

What is Ketamine Associated Ulcerative Cystitis?

People who are Chronically using Ketamine have been reported to get painful erosions on the wall of the urinary bladder. These ulcerations are breakdowns on the inside wall of the bladder. These decays can be shallow or go through the entire bladder wall. These breakdowns are similar to what patients with gastric ulcers have. These areas of ulceration when viewed by the doctor are red and often bleed. .

Ketamine Background: How is it taken?

This is an image of a Ketamine vial
This image is a Ketamine VIal
  • Orally
  • Nasally
  • Intravenous (IV) injection

Common urinary tract symptoms :

  • Nocturia (Waking up from sleep to urinate)
  • Frequent urination
  • Suprapubic pain(Pelvic Pain)
  • Frequency Urgency


The Urologist, under either local or general anesthesia, will place a tube called a cystoscope into your bladder. He will put the cystoscope into the bladder via the urethra which is the hole we urinate (Pee). Once inside the doctor can inspect the bladder wall to see if there are any ulcerations. This direct view along with a physical and history will help the doctor confirm a diagnosis of Ketamine Associated Ulcerative Cystitis.

Common Treatments:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pyridium 
  • Foley Catheter

Emerging Treatments:

According to a study in the April 2017 Journal of International Medical research, the urologist can inject the sites of Ketamine Associated Ulceration with botulinum toxin A followed by filling the bladder with saline and over distending the bladder (hydrodistention)

Reference: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3216160/

Updated on January 21, 2019

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