BJUI Mini Reviews - Recreational ketamine: From pleasure to pain

BERKELEY, CA ( - Ketamine is a ‘dissociative anaesthetic’ that acts as a glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate antagonist.

It was first synthesized in 1964 and it has had an excellent track record in anaesthesia and analgesia across both human medical and veterinary fields.[1,2] In clinical practice, patients coming round from ketamine-based anaesthesia have reported a variety of strange effects including ‘out of body’ and ‘near-death’ experiences, delirium, confusion, delusions and hallucinations. This dissociative sensation (the ‘K Hole’) is pleasurable to some and, combined with its ready availability and low price (annecdotally ‘cheaper than a night on alcohol’), has led to ketamine gaining in popularity as a recreational drug. Some ‘middle-class’ social circles use ketamine regularly at weekends, and the drug has been adopted by the party scene worldwide, leading to the emergence of a mixed pattern of intermittent, daily and extremely high-dose users.[3]..View or save the full text Mini Review as a .pdf file


Dan Wood*, Angela Cottrell, Simon C. Baker, Jennifer Southgate, Maya Harris,§ Simon Fulford,§ Christopher Woodhouse* and David Gillatt

*Department of Urology, University College London Hospitals (UCLH), London Bristol Urological Institute, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, Jack Birch Unit of Molecular Carcinogenesis, Department of Biology, University of York, York, and §Department of Urology, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, UK


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