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Total and Differential White Blood Cell Counts, Cocaine, and Marijuana Use in Patients With Schizophrenia

Goetz, Ryan L. BS*; Miller, Brian J. MD, PhD, MPH

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: August 2019 - Volume 207 - Issue 8 - p 633–636
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000001019
Original Articles
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Schizophrenia is associated with blood inflammatory marker abnormalities. Illicit drug use, which is common in schizophrenia, may modulate inflammatory marker levels. We examined effects of marijuana and cocaine use on white blood cell (WBC) counts in acutely ill, hospitalized patients with schizophrenia using a within-subjects and between-groups design. Mean total and differential WBC counts were first compared in acutely ill patients with schizophrenia for hospitalizations with and without either marijuana (n = 18) or cocaine (n = 24) use. Mean total and differential WBC counts were then compared between patients with schizophrenia with either marijuana or cocaine use and patients with a negative urine drug screen (UDS; n = 43). Patients with schizophrenia had significantly higher total WBC, lymphocytes, and monocytes during hospitalizations with (vs. without) cocaine use. Patients with cocaine use also had significantly higher monocytes and eosinophils than those with a negative UDS. Our findings suggest that substance use, particularly of cocaine, may modulate inflammatory marker levels in acutely ill, hospitalized patients with schizophrenia.

*Medical College of Georgia

Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Augusta University, Augusta, Georgia.

Send reprint requests to Brian J. Miller, MD, PhD, MPH, Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior, Augusta University, 997 Saint Sebastian Way, Augusta, GA 30912. E-mail: brmiller@augusta.edu.

Online date: June 21, 2019

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