Acute kidney injury and rhabdomyolysis after cocaine overdose: case report and literature review


Cocaine, a natural alkaloid derived from the coca plant, is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs.
Cocaine abuse causes systemic adverse effects like stroke, myocardic infarction, arterial dissection, vascular thrombosis and rhabdomyolysis.
Cocaine use is, also, associated with renal complications such as acute kidney injury, vasculitis, acute interstitial nephritis, chronic kidney disease, malignant hypertension with thrombotic microangiopathy.
Acute kidney injury may or may be not associated to rhabdomyolysis.
Rhabdomyolysis caused by cocaine abuse is multifactorial, involving tissue ischemia secondary to vasoconstriction and cellular damage caused by the drug.
We report a 50-year-old man with history of chronic hepatitis C and substance abuse admitted to our unit with severe rhabdomyolysis and acute kidney failure after nasal insufflation of cocaine overdose. Renal function recovered after several treatments of dialysis.
We conclude that cocaine adversely impacts kidney function; in addition cocaine and rhabdomyolysis are the double danger for acute kidney injury. Medical management of cocaine toxicity requires a multisystem approach, with close monitoring cardiac, neurological and renal function.

Keywords: Acute kidney injury, rhabdomyolysis, cocaine

Sorry, this entry is only available in Italian.


La cocaina, un alcaloide del tropano presente nelle foglie della pianta di coca di eritroxilone, nota come il più potente stimolatore di origine naturale, esalta e prolunga gli effetti della stimolazione simpatica inibendo il reuptake delle catecolamine nelle terminazioni nervose (1, 2). 

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