Pulmonary disorders associated with use of illicit drugs

Lewis J. Wesselius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Illicit drug use is associated with the development of both acute and chronic pulmonary disorders. Some pulmonary diseases are induced by contaminants. An example is foreign-body granulomatosis of the lungs, which occurs in individuals who inject drugs containing foreign materials such as talc. The use of cocaine, and particularly inhaled crack cocaine, is associated with a high incidence of acute pulmonary symptoms including cough and chest pain. Various cocaine-mediated pulmonary disorders include alveolar hemorrhage, pulmonary edema, bronchiolitis obliterans and organizing pneumonia, pulmonary eosinophilia, and interstitial pneumonitis. Heroin, as well as other opiates, and the inhaled form of methamphetamine ("ice") can induce acute pulmonary edema in drug users. Severe emphysema has been reported to develop in young drug abusers who intravenously use the drug meththylphenidate. Marijuana users often develop symptoms of chronic bronchitis. Long-term users seem to be at increased risk for lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, although the relative risk compared with tobacco smokers is uncertain. The use of illicit drugs may exacerbate underlying asthma, and illicit drug use is associated with an increased risk of fatal asthma. The diagnosis of illicit drug-induced lung disease may be difficult if an accurate history of drug use is not obtained. Establishing the diagnosis of drug-induced lung disease is important because appropriate treatment may also require referral for drug counseling or rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-75
Number of pages5
JournalClinical Pulmonary Medicine
Volume4
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Street Drugs
Lung
Lung Diseases
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Pulmonary Edema
Drug Users
Cocaine
Opiate Alkaloids
Asthma
Cryptogenic Organizing Pneumonia
Crack Cocaine
Pulmonary Eosinophilia
Talc
Methamphetamine
Chronic Bronchitis
Heroin
Interstitial Lung Diseases
Emphysema
Ice
Cannabis

Keywords

  • Cocaine
  • Drug abuse
  • Heroin
  • Pulmonary disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Cite this

Pulmonary disorders associated with use of illicit drugs. / Wesselius, Lewis J.

In: Clinical Pulmonary Medicine, Vol. 4, No. 2, 03.1997, p. 71-75.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wesselius, Lewis J. / Pulmonary disorders associated with use of illicit drugs. In: Clinical Pulmonary Medicine. 1997 ; Vol. 4, No. 2. pp. 71-75.
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