Ketamine abuse linked to damage of this organ: Read details

Severe side effects of Ketamine drug, such as kidney failure, heart attack, seizures, stroke, or respiratory failure, are more likely to occur.

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Medicine Injection Syringe
Picture: Pixabay

Last Updated on November 2, 2021 by The Health Master

Ketamine abuse linked to damage of this organ

Ketamine is a drug for use as an anesthetic or to induce unconsciousness in a patient. It also possesses the additional ability to relax muscles and relieve pain.

After entering the body, it is processed in the liver and eliminated by the kidneys, with the components present in high amounts in the urine.

Ketamine is also a hallucinogen, which means it has strong qualities that might lead to erratic behavior when abused.

In the long run, physical tolerance and dependence on Ketamine is the most consequential effect of repeated, high-dose ketamine abuse.

All of these features make it a good drug for misuse, and use among teenagers is on the rise as a result of globalization, notably in Southeast Asia, including India.

Ketamine is normally taken orally or sniffed; but, it can also be administered intravenously or intramuscularly, which raises the risk of injury to veins, muscles, skin, and internal organs.

Effects on the kidneys and other organs are negative:

Severe side effects of Ketamine drug, such as kidney failure, heart attack, seizures, stroke, or respiratory failure, are more likely to occur.

Acute overdosing can also lead to coma and death. Upon prolonged abuse of Ketamine, the byproducts of Ketamine accumulate in the urinary bladder, which results in chronic, usually irreversible damage (in early stages).

However, with continued exposure, other complications can pursue such as a small shrunken urinary bladder, hydroureteronephrosis (excess fluid in the kidneys), which is found in 50% of the cases. This inevitably affects the overall functioning of the kidneys.

Symptoms usually include burning micturition, incontinence, increased frequency of urination, and bloody urine. Ulcerative cystitis is a type of painful bladder syndrome marked by damage to the bladder’s tissue resulting in chronic, recurrent pelvic pain and ulcers (red, bleeding patches) on the bladder walls.

This accounts for about 10% of all cystitis cases, and ketamine abuse increases the risk of developing this condition.

According to the Interstitial Cystitis Association, about 33% of people who abuse ketamine experience this condition.

Few ways that could help reduce and manage the damage:

To treat patients who have urinary tract pathology as a result of ketamine use, a multidisciplinary approach is required. Points to remember and put into practice:

  • Ketamine use must be stopped in order to treat the disease and ensure that the treatment is effective.
  • Medical treatment is mainly symptomatic, which includes pain relievers (apart from anti-inflammatory drugs), blood thinners, and urinary frequency reducing medications.
  • Other classes of medications may be utilized to aid in the restoration of the mucosal bladder wall.
  • Surgical treatment is usually required for late or severe disease, which varies from stenting of the ureters to Neobladder formation with the use of small bowel.

There is a possibility that despite the use of all the above treatments, symptoms may persist, and we may not be able to alleviate it completely.

This makes it a point for medical professionals and family members to illicit drug abuse, especially in young individuals with recurrent urinary tract problems.


By Dr. Vinod S Dibbur
Author is Consultant – Nephrology, Fortis Hospitals, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely of the author and The Health Master does not necessarily subscribe to it. ETHealthworld.com shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person / organisation directly or indirectly.)

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