Street ketamine-associated bladder dysfunction: An emerging health problem

  • PY Lee
  • TA Ong
  • CB Chua
  • CCM Lei
  • GC Teh
Keywords: Ketamine, lower urinary tract symptoms, bladder dysfunction


Introduction: Ketamine is frequently abused nowadays as a recreational drug. Case reports are emerging since 2007 todescribe a new clinical entity of severe bladder dysfunction associated with chronic abuse of street ketamine.

Clinical presentation: Severe lower urinary tract symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency which are refractory toconventional treatment. Quality of life is adversely affected as a consequence. Chronic kidney disease will develop inadvanced cases.

Investigation findings: The urine is sterile on culture. Ultrasound will show reduced bladder capacity with thickened bladderwall. In advanced stage, hydronephrosis and renal impairment will develop.

Treatment: Patients should be advised to stop street ketamine use immediately. Anticholinergic medication could be triedto alleviate the symptoms. Refractory cases with dilatation of the upper urinary tract might need urinary diversion.

Conclusion: Awareness of this new condition is essential in diagnosis. Early intervention offers better treatment outcome.


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How to Cite
LeeP., OngT., ChuaC., LeiC., & TehG. (2009). Street ketamine-associated bladder dysfunction: An emerging health problem. Malaysian Family Physician, 4(1), 4. Retrieved from
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