Topical Researches - Drug Harms
Ice Induced Psychosis: a Literature Review and a Prevalence Study in Local Ice Abusers (2020)

Researcher: Prof. Tang Wai Kwong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Background: In recent years, there is a growing trend of ICE use in Hong Kong. However, there has been a lack of study on ICE induced psychosis (IIP) in local users. To identify the prevalence, clinical features, and risk factors of IIP and other psychiatric disorders in local ICE users, we conducted a large-scale study to investigate the prevalence of psychiatric comorbidity in a group of ICE users.

Aims: (1) To determine the prevalence of IIP and psychotic symptoms in local ICE users. (2) To identify the prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders in local ICE users.

Method: 260 ICE users as participants were recruited from July 2017 to July 2019. All participants were invited to a 40–90 minute face-to-face structured diagnostic interview for examination of their psychiatric condition. Demographic, clinical, and drug use data were also collected.

Results: The most prevalent psychotic symptoms were delusion of reference (65%), persecutory delusion (42%), auditory hallucination (59%), visual hallucination (42%), and tactile hallucination (33%). Lifetime substance-induced mood and anxiety disorders were found in 59% and 64% of the participants respectively.

Conclusion: IIP is very common in local ICE users; one-fifth of the users had persistent psychotic symptoms, included delusions and hallucinations. The amount of ICE consumption and ICE dependence would increase the risk of IIP. Mood and anxiety disorders are common in ICE users as well.

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Gastrointestinal, hepatic and biliary sequelae of frequent ketamine use: a prospective observational study (2020)

Researcher: Dr. Seto Wai Kay Walter, The University of Hong Kong

Background: Recreational ketamine use (i.e. non-prescribed use of ketamine irrespective of the frequency of use) has emerged as an important health and social issue worldwide. Abdominal discomfort and associated gastrointestinal complains are common in frequent ketamine users, and damage to the biliary tract has been previously reported, although the clinical profiles and sequelae have not been well-described.

Aims: (i) determine the underlying aetiology of abdominal discomfort among frequent ketamine users; and (ii) determine the prevalence of different gastrointestinal, liver and biliary pathologies among frequent ketamine users and to determine risk factors associated with the development of different gastrointestinal, liver and biliary pathologies among frequent ketamine users.

Method: 127 Chinese individuals who used ketamine recreationally at least twice per month over six months in the past two years were recruited via a territory-wide community network of charitable organisations tackling substance abuse. Clinical demographics were recorded, and gastrointestinal symptoms were assessed via a standardised score. For participants at risk of biliary tract anomalies, magnetic resonance cholangiography (MRC) was performed and interpreted independently by two radiologists, with findings analysed in association with clinical characteristics.

Results and Conclusion: Severe degrees of abdominal discomfort and biliary anomalies on MRC were noted among recreational ketamine users, with clinical benefit of abstinence clearly demonstrated.

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Evidence of brain damage in chronic ketamine users – a brain imaging study (2016)

Researcher: Prof. Tang Wai Kwong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
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