Cocaine-Associated Seizures and Incidence of Status Epilepticus
Objectives: Acute complications from cocaine abuse are commonly treated in the emergency department (ED); one of the most consequential is status epilepticus. The incidence of this complication is not clearly defined in the prior literature on cocaine-associated sequelae. We evaluated the incidence of status epilepticus in patients with seizures secondary to suspected cocaine use.
Methods: We performed a retrospective multi-center study of patients with seizures resulting from cocaine use. We identified study subjects at 15 hospitals by record review and conducted a computer-assisted records search to identify patients with seizures for each institution over a four-year period. We selected subjects from this group on the basis of cocaine use and determined the occurrence of status epilepticus among them. Data were collected on each subject using a standardized data collection form.
Results: We evaluated 43 patients in the ED for cocaine-associated seizures. Their age range was 17 to 54, with a mean age was 31 years; 53% were male. Of 43 patients, 42 experienced a single tonic-clonic seizure and one developed status epilepticus. All patients had either a history of cocaine use or positive urine drug screen for cocaine.
Conclusion: Despite reported cases of status epilepticus with cocaine-induced seizures, the incidence of this complication was unclear based on prior literature. This study shows that most cocaine-associated seizures are self-limited. [West J Emerg Med. 2010; 11(2):157-160.]