Logotipo del SMU

RMU

Uruguayan Medical Journal

ISSN: 1688-0390


Vol.33 - Nº 2 - Jun. 2017

Previous Art | Index | Next Art

Levamisole-adulterated cocaine: a report on three clinical cases

JUANENA C; CAPPELETTI F; PASCALE A; NEGRIN A; DURANTE S; GRACIANO R; ROCHA A
Rev Med Urug 2017; 33: 138-144
Full text (spanish) |  Full text (spanish) (New windows, pdf) | Abstract

Abstract

Consumption of cocaine hydrochloride and cocaine base paste (CBP) in Uruguay has a lifetime prevalence of 6.9% and 0.7% respectively. Complications associated to toxic side effects of cocaine abuse depend on the concentration of the alkaloid, as well as on the presence of adulterants. Levamisole, a veterinary anthelmintic, a well know cocaine adulterant in the US was identified in Uruguay in 2013. This adulterant results in complications such as neutropenia, skin vasculitis, glomerulonephritis and leukoencephalopathy. The study describes the first three clinical cases of complications resulting from cocaine cut with levamisole reported to the Toxicology Center for Information and Counseling. The patients included were chronic cocaine abusers between 35 and 40 years old. Retiform purpura was detected in the three cases with a necrotic center associated to ANCA antibodies, with a tendency to appear in the earlobes, cheeks, and limbs, as it is reported in levamisole associated vasculitis. Neutropenia was reported in one case. The three patients had anemia. Two of the cases presented acute kidney failure. The main treatment was interruption of consumption, what resulted in a complete reversion of complications. All patients required debridement or skin grafts, or both. The above mentioned complications are discussed and analyzed, as well as the risk re-exposure and the suggested treatments involve, as the granulocytes growth factors, broad spectrum antibiotics and corticoids. A high degree of suspicion is required to associate these clinical manifestations to the presence of levamisole as a cocaine adulterant.