Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Tainted Cocaine Tied to Severe Skin Reactions

Tainted Cocaine Tied to Severe Skin Reactions

06/23/11

THURSDAY, June 23 (HealthDay News) -- Cocaine contaminated with levamisole, a cheap and widely available drug used to deworm livestock, could result in a U.S. public health epidemic, experts warn.

In a report released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, doctors revealed that patients in Los Angeles and New York who smoked or snorted cocaine diluted or "cut" with the veterinary drug developed serious skin reactions.

Six patients developed patches of purple necrotic skin on their ears, nose and cheeks, as well as other parts of their body, the doctors reported. In some instances, the cocaine users suffered permanent scarring as a result of using the tainted drug.

Two similar cases were also reported in San Francisco along with others that reported additional side effects, including agranulocytosis -- a potentially life-threatening immune-system disorder.

The problem, however, could reach epidemic proportions. The U.S. Department of Justice has reported that up to 70 percent of cocaine in the United States is contaminated with levamisole. Once prescribed for humans, the drug was discontinued after patients who took the drug developed conditions similar to the cocaine users.

"We believe these cases of skin reactions and illnesses linked to contaminated cocaine are just the tip of the iceberg in a looming public health problem posed by levamisole," lead researcher Dr. Noah Craft, of the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, said in an institute news release.

Initially baffled by the severity of the skin damage, Craft added that the report was published to increase awareness about these skin reactions, which could be misdiagnosed as vasculitis (a rare blood vessel autoimmune disorder), and to educate both the public and health professionals about the additional risks associated with cocaine use.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine provides more information on cocaine.

Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse First in Area to Perform Single-Site Hysterectomy
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >