The clinical presentation and diagnosis of ketamine-associated urinary tract dysfunction in Singapore

Singapore Med J. 2015 Dec;56(12):660-4; quiz 665. doi: 10.11622/smedj.2015185.


Ketamine is a short-acting anaesthetic agent that has gained popularity as a 'club drug' due to its hallucinogenic effects. Substance abuse should be considered in young adult patients who present with severe debilitating symptoms such as lower urinary tract symptoms, even though the use of controlled substances is rare in Singapore. Although the natural history of disease varies from person to person, a relationship between symptom severity and frequency/dosage of abuse has been established. It is important to be aware of this condition and have a high degree of clinical suspicion to enable early diagnosis and immediate initiation of multidisciplinary and holistic treatment. A delayed diagnosis can lead to irreversible pathological changes and increased morbidity among ketamine abusers.

Keywords: bladder dysfunction; ketamin; lower urinary tract dysfunction; ulcerative cystitis.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cystitis / drug therapy
  • Cystoscopy
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Ketamine / adverse effects*
  • Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms / chemically induced*
  • Male
  • Singapore
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography
  • Urinary Tract / drug effects*
  • Urinary Tract / physiopathology*
  • Young Adult


  • Ketamine