What is the role of levamisole in the development of cocaine toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, JD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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Answer

The veterinary antihelminthic levamisole has been found as an adulterant in 69%-93% of the cocaine in the United States. [8, 5] Levamisole increases dopamine levels in the same areas of the brain as does cocaine, possibly accounting for its current ubiquity. [9] Neutropenia, agranulocytosis, leukoencephalopathy, and cutaneous vasculitis have been reported following use of cocaine contaminated with levamisole. [9, 8]


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