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Cocaine-induced vasculitis: is this a new trend?

Authors Pérez MRG, Ortiz-González VL, Betancourt M, Mercado R

Received 14 July 2013

Accepted for publication 20 August 2013

Published 4 October 2013 Volume 2013:5 Pages 77—80

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/OARRR.S51524

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4


Miraida Reneé García Pérez,1 Vanessa L Ortiz-González,1 Maria Betancourt,1 Rogelio Mercado2

1Department of Internal Medicine, San Juan City Hospital, 2Department of Dermatology, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Abstract: Cocaine-induced vasculitis is a rare complication found in drug abusers. It occurs due to cocaine adulterated with levamisole. Levamisole was once used as a chemotherapy and immunomodulator for different conditions. One of the side effects of this medication is necrotizing vasculitis which has been reported in the US and Puerto Rico. Here we present another case of cocaine induced vasculitis in Puerto Rico. We describe a 43-year-old female with past medical history of bronchial asthma, migraine, and crack smoking who presented to the emergency room due to blood in her urine for 5 days. She also reported fever, chills, and fatigue. At the physical exam she had a right knee ulcer with swelling erythema, warmth, and pain. Also, she had retiform purpuric plaque lesions in her ears, bilaterally. Eroded plaques with elevated borders at left foot and finger dorsum were also present. Laboratory workup was positive for cocaine. The patient showed leucopenia and microcytic anemia with a normal absolute neutrophil count in her cell blood count. Blood cultures, urine cultures, and ulcer cultures were negative. Urinalysis was positive for proteinuria and hematuria. Also, the patient had positive perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody, cytoplasmic anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody, and antinuclear antibody tests and elastase specificity. She showed negative anticardiolipin and lupus anticoagulant antibodies. Her complement levels were decreased. The punch biopsy of her ear showed superficial thrombosis of superficial vascular plexus with perivascular lymphocytic infiltrates and deeper sections showed epidermal necrosis and necrotizing vasculitis. She was started on a high dose of steroids, but could not complete the treatment because she escaped from the hospital before finishing her treatment.

Keywords:
levamisole, cocaine-induced vasculitis, vasculitis, P-ANCA, C-ANCA

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