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Journal of Community Nursing (JCN) | October 2019

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Ketamine bladders: what community nurses should know

Ketamine bladders: what community nurses should know

Article topics: Continence, Effects of ketamine, Ketamine, Pain control, Treatment

The effect of drugs on mental and physical health are well documented. However, these consequences do not necessarily prevent people using them either recreationally or more regularly, with some becoming addicted to their drug or drugs of choice. It is estimated that in 2016/17, around one in 12 (8.5%) adults aged 16 to 59 in England and Wales had taken an illicit drug in the last year (NHS Digital, 2018). Ketamine has become increasingly popular, especially among younger users, as it is cheap and mistakenly seen as a ‘safe’, non-addictive drug. However, the reality is that even recreational use may have serious consequences. The effect on the urinary system can be devastating, with users experiencing anything from frequency and cystitis-like symptoms, to extreme debilitating pain from the inflamed and shrunken bladder, resulting in cystectomy and urinary diversion, and, if the kidneys are affected, renal failure and dialysis.

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