Life-threatening hyperkalaemia and multisystem toxicity following first-time exposure to cocaine
ABSTRACT Cocaine is a drug notorious for its ability to adversely affect almost any organ in the body and cause a plethora of biochemical abnormalities secondary to its severe vasoconstrictive properties. These abnormalities are not exclusively seen in habitual users or cases of overdose, and may sometimes cause confusion as to the underlying pathology. We describe a case of a young female who presented to the Accident and Emergency department in the early hours of the morning complaining of muscle weakness following the inhalation of a small quantity of an 'unknown substance' the previous night. Investigations showed life-threatening hyperkalaemia with a potassium of 9.0 mmol/L, evidence of rhabdomyolysis, acute renal as well as liver failure, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy and a raised troponin of 7000 ng/L, which later peaked to 15,600 ng/L. Four days later, she became hypoxic as a result of adult respiratory distress syndrome with grossly abnormal chest X-ray appearances. Following intensive therapy, she made a dramatic recovery and was discharged from hospital 20 days from presentation. This case highlights the importance of biochemical profiling in patients presenting with possible drug use, even in the absence of significant symptoms.
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ABSTRACT: In developing an vivo drug-interception therapy to treat cocaine abuse and hinder relapse into drug seeking provoked by re-encounter with cocaine, two promising agents are: (1) a cocaine hydrolase enzyme (CocH) derived from human butyrylcholinesterase and delivered by gene transfer; (2) an anti-cocaine antibody elicited by vaccination. Recent behavioral experiments showed that antibody and enzyme work in a complementary fashion to reduce cocaine-stimulated locomotor activity in rats and mice. Our present goal was to test protection against liver damage and muscle weakness in mice challenged with massive doses of cocaine at or near the LD50 level (100-120mg/kg, i.p.). We found that, when the interceptor proteins were combined at doses that were only modestly protective in isolation (enzyme, 1mg/kg; antibody, 8mg/kg), they provided complete protection of liver tissue and motor function. When the enzyme levels were ∼400-fold higher, after in vivo transduction by adeno-associated viral vector, similar protection was observed from CocH alone.Chemico-biological interactions 08/2012; 203(1). DOI:10.1016/j.cbi.2012.08.006 · 2.98 Impact Factor