In addition to asking study participants to recount instances of pelvic pain as well as urination frequency and urgency when taking ketamine, Mak and his colleagues conducted kidney ultrasounds, urine flow analyses and bladder scans.
On a positive note, patients who stopped taking ketamine experienced a continuous dissipation of such symptoms over time, the researchers said.
Dr. Marc Galanter, director of the division of alcoholism and drug abuse in the department of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine in New York City, believes ketamine use is widespread.
"Ketamine is not that uncommon as a drug of abuse among young people," he said. "Even though its use should be restricted to veterinary situations requiring anesthesia, young people do get a hold of it, and inject it intramuscularly and get high. So it is a significant issue."
"Now, it is unusual to have people abusing it as frequently and to the degree reported in this study," Galanter noted. "So this finding concerns a select population. But there are certainly people where this kind of complication might come into play."
But Dr. Adam Bisaga, an associate professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, as well as an addiction psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, believes use of Special K may not be rampant.
"My take on this is that ketamine use as a whole is not a big public health problem, in the way that cocaine, marijuana, and opiate abuse are," he said. "Yes, this sort of complication with K can happen. It can certainly be an issue for some patients. But it's not honestly something that has been occupying the attention of most drug abuse treatment providers."
Galanter said ketamine abuse remains a troublesome problem, however. "I would say that ketamine has always been a bad idea," he stressed. "And this is just one more reason that it clearly is<
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