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Neurology. 1989 Aug;39(8):1037-9.

Seizures associated with recreational drug abuse.

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Division of Clinical Pharmacy, School of Pharmacy, University of California, San Francisco.


We retrospectively identified 49 cases of recreational drug-induced seizures in 47 patients seen at the San Francisco General Hospital between 1975 and 1987. Most patients experienced a single generalized tonic-clonic seizure associated with acute drug intoxication, but 7 patients had multiple seizures and 2 patients developed status epilepticus. The recreational drugs implicated were cocaine (32 cases), amphetamine (11), heroin (7), and phencyclidine (4). A combination of drugs was responsible in 11 cases. Seizures occurred independent of the route of administration, and occurred in both first-time and chronic abusers. Ten patients (21%) reported having had prior seizures, all with a close temporal association with drug abuse. Other than 1 patient who developed prolonged status epilepticus that caused a fixed neurologic deficit, most patients had no obvious short-term neurologic sequelae.

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