Mucocutaneous manifestations of cocaine abuse: a review

12 Apr 2018 12:18 Ricerca

Cocaine is an alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the Erythroxylum coca plant that emerged in the 1970s as a fashionable drug among members of certain social backgrounds. Cocaine abuse is a problem of current interest, which is mostly hidden and underdiagnosed, but dramatically widespread among all socio-economic strata, and with an incidence which is increasing at an alarming rate. There are 1.5 million cocaine consumers in the USA. In Spain, the prevalence of consumption among the population between 15 and 65 years old is higher, reaching 3.1%. Because of this, it seems important to understand and recognize all the mucocutaneous manifestations of cocaine abuse which have been reported in the literature to clarify and to help dermatologists in their daily practice. In this article, we describe the principal mucocutaneous manifestations of cocaine abuse and we review isolated case reports which have been published in the literature.

Because the dermatologist may deal with an unknown problem as well as with an already well-known history of cocaine abuse, it seems logical to separate the mucocutaneous manifestations into those which are frequent and highly suggestive, such as those caused by vascular injury, damage to mucosal membranes, infectious diseases or neutrophilic dermatosis, especially when suffered by young people and in consonance with other systemic manifestations and, those which have been reported in the literature as isolated case reports. We also summarize the main aspects of its pathogeny, principal pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic characteristics, and diagnostic tools.


Moreno-Artero E, Querol-Cisneros E, Rodríguez-Garijo N, Tomás-Velázquez A, Antoñanzas J2, Secundino F3, Pilar Gil-Sánchez M, España A.

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2018 Mar 6. doi: 10.1111/jdv.14912. [Epub ahead of print]

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