Recreational use of cocaine promotes blood clots

May 14, 2000

Cocaine activates platelets and increases the fomation of circulating platelet containing microaggregates in humans

Even occasional use of cocaine promotes the formation of blood clots, shows a study in Heart. This could explain why the risk of heart attacks is so much higher in people who use the drug, the research concludes.

The heart rates and blood chemical responses were monitored in fourteen 23 to 41 year olds up to two hours after having been given 2 mg per kg of body weight of cocaine, equivalent to recreational use and the same amount of a placebo. None of the volunteers had ever used cocaine before.

Compared with the placebo, cocaine slightly increased heart rate and blood pressure. But chemicals which indicate that the blood is "stickier" and which enhance the formation of clots (thrombosis) had significantly increased two hours after cocaine had been taken. And the bleeding time, a measure of how long it takes the blood to form a clot around a wound, had fallen in two thirds of the volunteers.

Bleeding of the linings of the nose and stomach is a frequent side-effect of snorting coke, say the authors, a factor which is not usually associated with thickening of the blood. But they say, cocaine has a systemic effect that has nothing to do with when or how the drug is taken. And it sets off a chain of events in the blood that promote clots, making the user susceptible to heart attacks.

"The data...add to mounting evidence disproving the widely held belief that occasional cocaine abuse poses little risk. The risk of thrombosis, similar to the risk of sudden cardiac death, is real and may affect even the first time user of small quantities of the drug."

Click below to download PDF document
You will require Acrobat Reader to view file.
Click here for PDF document


Dr William Wagner, Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, USA.
Tel: 001 412 647 8311
Fax: 001 412 647 6059

BMJ Specialty Journals

Related Cocaine Articles from Brightsurf:

Sleep-deprived mice find cocaine more rewarding
Sleep deprivation may pave the way to cocaine addiction. Too-little sleep can increase the rewarding properties of cocaine, according to new research in mice published in eNeuro.

Nucleus accumbens recruited by cocaine, sugar are different
In a study using genetically modified mice, a University of Wyoming faculty member found that the nucleus accumbens recruited by cocaine use are largely distinct from nucleus accumbens recruited by sucrose, or table sugar.

Astrocytes build synapses after cocaine use in mice
Drugs of abuse, like cocaine, are so addictive due in part to their cellular interaction, creating strong cellular memories in the brain that promote compulsive behaviors.

Of all professions, construction workers most likely to use opioids and cocaine
Construction workers are more likely to use drugs than workers in other professions, finds a study by the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) at NYU College of Global Public Health.

Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression
Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Blocking dopamine weakens effects of cocaine
Blocking dopamine receptors in different regions of the amygdala reduces drug seeking and taking behavior with varying longevity, according to research in rats published in eNeuro.

Born to run: just not on cocaine
A study finds a surprising response to cocaine in a novel strain of mutant mice -- they failed to show hyperactivity seen in normal mice when given cocaine and didn't run around.

Cocaine adulterant may cause brain damage
People who regularly take cocaine cut with the animal anti-worming agent levamisole demonstrate impaired cognitive performance and a thinned prefrontal cortex.

Setting affects pleasure of heroin and cocaine
Drug users show substance-specific differences in the rewarding effects of heroin versus cocaine depending on where they use the drugs, according to a study published in JNeurosci.

One in 10 people have traces of cocaine or heroin on their fingerprints
Scientists have found that drugs are now so prevalent that 13 percent of those taking part in a test were found to have traces of class A drugs on their fingerprints -- despite never using them.

Read More: Cocaine News and Cocaine Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to