The aims of this study were to describe clinical and laboratory manifestations of patients with levamisole-adulterated cocaine-induced vasculitis/vasculopathy and to propose a skin classification according to the distribution and severity of lesions.
We report the characteristics of 30 patients admitted with levamisole-adulterated cocaine-induced vasculitis/vasculopathy in 4 high-complexity institutions in Colombia, from December 2010 to May 2017. We compare our findings with the main published series.
Median age was 31 years (interquartile range, 27–38 years) with a male-to-female ratio of 5:1. Eighty-three percent of the patients had retiform purpura affecting the limbs, buttocks, face, or abdomen; 73% had ear necrosis, 50% cutaneous ulcers, 17% genital necrosis, 13% oral ulcers, and 10% digital necrosis. Cutaneous involvement was classified according to the frequency of the compromised corporal area, and purpuric lesions were stratified in 4 grades of severity. Anti–neutrophil cytoplasmic autoantibodies were positive in 85% of the cases, lupus anticoagulant in 73%, and antinuclear autoantibodies in 57%; rheumatoid factor was negative in all cases. We found nephritis in 17 cases (57%). Prednisolone was used in most of the patients (70%), with other immunosuppressive agents being used in a lower percentage. Improvement was observed in 93% of the patients, but symptoms recurred in 40%, attributed to relapses in consumption. End-stage chronic renal disease developed in 10% of the cases, and 1 patient died.
Because of rising cocaine consumption and levamisole adulteration frequency, levamisole-adulterated cocaine-induced vasculitis/vasculopathy is becoming more common. Detailed characterization of skin involvement coupled with multiple antibody positivity is essential for a diagnosis. Renal involvement is frequent, clinically and histologically heterogeneous, and potentially serious.