Other drug use does not impact cognitive impairments in chronic ketamine users

Chenxi Zhang, Wai Kwong Tang, Hua Jun Liang, Gabor Sandor Ungvari, Shih Ku Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Ketamine abuse causes cognitive impairments, which negatively impact on users’ abstinence, prognosis, and quality of life. Results: of cognitive impairments in chronic ketamine users have been inconsistent across studies, possibly due to the small sample sizes and the confounding effects of concomitant use of other illicit drugs. This study investigated the cognitive impairment and its related factors in chronic ketamine users with a large sample size and explored the impact of another drug use on cognitive functions. Methods: Cognitive functions, including working, verbal and visual memory and executive functions were assessed in ketamine users: 286 non-heavy other drug users and 279 heavy other drug users, and 261 healthy controls. Correlations between cognitive impairment and patterns of ketamine use were analysed. Results: Verbal and visual memory were impaired, but working memory and executive functions were intact for all ketamine users. No significant cognitive differences were found between the two ketamine groups. Greater number of days of ketamine use in the past month was associated with worse visual memory performance in non-heavy other drug users. Higher dose of ketamine use was associated with worse short-term verbal memory in heavy other drug users. Conclusion: Verbal and visual memory are impaired in chronic ketamine users. Other drug use appears to have no impact on ketamine users’ cognitive performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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