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J Psychoactive Drugs. 2014 Nov-Dec;46(5):389-92. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2014.959215.

Levamisole-adulterated cocaine: what about in European countries?

Author information

1
a Pharmacist, Centre for Evaluation and Information on Pharmacodependance-Addictovigilance, Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology Department , University Hospital of Montpellier , France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A wide variety of somatic complications is reported or expected among cocaine users because of the adulterant levamisole. Most of the reports come from North America.

METHODS:

To update the data on levamisole-adulterated cocaine in European countries, we present here a synthesis of data on samples seized by the police with the detection of levamisole, the amount of levamisole in cocaine samples, European drug information reports, and clinical cases.

RESULTS:

Although there is a variation in the percentage of levamisole in cocaine samples between European countries, the trend is an increase of these percentages. As in North America, levamisole is becoming the most common cocaine adulterant. First European cases of complications secondary to the use of adulterated cocaine with levamisole were skin necrosis, vasculitis, and agranulocytosis. Levamisole postmortem data concerned two cases of complications leading to death, possibly related to levamisole or its metabolite (acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary hypertension).

CONCLUSION:

Even if it is difficult to have a global European view with comparable data, levamisole is present in European cocaine specimens and can lead to severe adverse health effects. However data on the prevalence of toxicity related to levamisole-adulterated cocaine abuse are missing.

KEYWORDS:

Europe; cocaine; levamisole

PMID:
25364990
DOI:
10.1080/02791072.2014.959215
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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