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The term 'cocaine-induced pseudovasculitis' was coined to encompass a constellation of clinical and laboratory findings which mimics a systemic vasculitis but lacks confirmatory evidence of vasculitis on biopsy. Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies reacting with human neutrophil elastase (HNE) have been reported to distinguish the cocaine-related syndrome from a true autoimmune vasculitis. Published cases of retiform purpura related to cocaine use are rare and an etiologic role for levamisole, a common adulterant of cocaine, has been postulated. We describe two female patients aged 39 and 49 years with cocaine-related retiform purpura, mainly affecting the legs. The initial clinical and serological profile in case 1 led to a suspicion of anti-phospholipid syndrome and in case 2 to Wegener's granulomatosis with an unexplained associated neutropenia. Skin biopsies revealed a mixed pattern of leukocytoclastic vasculitis and microvascular thrombosis in case 1 and pure microvascular thrombosis in case 2. Identification of anti-HNE antibodies in both patients linked their disease to cocaine. The mixed vasculopathic pattern in case 1 and the associated neutropenia in case 2, both known adverse effects of levamisole, point to this as the true etiologic agent. Urine toxicology shortly after a binge of cocaine use in each case was positive for levamisole. Walsh NMG, Green PJ, Burlingame RW, Pasternak S, Hanly JG. Cocaine-related retiform purpura: evidence to incriminate the adulterant, levamisole.
Department of Pathology, Capital District Health Authority and Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of cutaneous pathology
Levamisole is a known immunomodulating agent frequently used as a cutting agent in cocaine consumed in the United States today. Numerous cases of anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA) vasculitis...
A growing number of case reports cite serious health complications linked to the cocaine adulterant, levamisole and women are disproportionately affected; however, the clinical effects are not well es...
Levamisole-induced vasculitis is a characteristic cutaneous vasculitis syndrome associated with the use of levamisole-adulterated cocaine. Patients will typically present with a painful, purpuric rash...
The first case reports of levamisole-related disease in cocaine users were published in 2010, although levamisole adulteration of cocaine was first recognized several years earlier. Currently, more th...
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Disorders related or resulting from use of cocaine.
The purified, alkaloidal, extra-potent form of cocaine. It is smoked (free-based), injected intravenously, and orally ingested. Use of crack results in alterations in function of the cardiovascular system, the autonomic nervous system, the central nervous system, and the gastrointestinal system. The slang term "crack" was derived from the crackling sound made upon igniting of this form of cocaine for smoking.
Any form of purpura in which the PLATELET COUNT is decreased. Many forms are thought to be caused by immunological mechanisms.
An alkaloid ester extracted from the leaves of plants including coca. It is a local anesthetic and vasoconstrictor and is clinically used for that purpose, particularly in the eye, ear, nose, and throat. It also has powerful central nervous system effects similar to the amphetamines and is a drug of abuse. Cocaine, like amphetamines, acts by multiple mechanisms on brain catecholaminergic neurons; the mechanism of its reinforcing effects is thought to involve inhibition of dopamine uptake.
A severe, rapidly fatal reaction occurring most commonly in children following an infectious illness. It is characterized by large, rapidly spreading skin hemorrhages, fever, or shock. Purpura fulminans often accompanies or is triggered by DISSEMINATED INTRAVASCULAR COAGULATION.
Autoimmune disorders are conditions that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys healthy body tissue. There are more than 80 different types of autoimmune disorders. Normally the immune system's white blood cells help protect ...
Acne Dermatology Eczema Psoriasis Wound Care Dermatology is the medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders (Oxford Medical Dictionary). As well as studying how the skin works, dermatology covers...