Genitourinary toxicity of ketamine

Hong Kong Med J. 2013 Aug;19(4):341-8. doi: 10.12809/hkmj134013. Epub 2013 Jul 8.


Ketamine is a relatively new recreational drug used by youngsters in recent decades. Its toxic effects on the genitourinary system were first reported in 2007, and now attract extensive attention from urologists, pharmacologists, and toxicologists all over the world. As many front-line health professionals and medical social workers are still unaware of this new clinical entity and an increasing number of the drug users seek help for urological symptoms, this mini-review aimed to summarise the clinical features and possible mechanisms of ketamine-induced genitourinary toxicity. By raising public awareness of these toxic effects, the authors hope that the contents of this review will be widely disseminated not only to medical professionals, but also to relevant government departments and the general public.

Keywords: Cystitis; Hydronephrosis; Ketamine; Lower urinary tract symptoms; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anesthetics, Dissociative / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / adverse effects*
  • Ketamine / adverse effects*
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / chemically induced
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / enzymology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Urogenital System / drug effects*
  • Urogenital System / pathology


  • Anesthetics, Dissociative
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Ketamine