Cocaine-induced Cardiomyopathy

Kearston A. S. Barnes, PharmD; Esther O. Fasanmi, PharmD; Ogechi P. Iwuorie, PharmD; Patrick S. Simon, PharmD; Ericka V. Hylick, PharmD


US Pharmacist. 2015;40(2):HS11-HS15. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Recent data demonstrate an increase in emergency department visits necessitated by illicit drug use. Cocaine is a highly addictive illegal substance that produces a euphoric effect. Adverse effects, primarily cardiovascular in nature, are of concern because of their severe and possibly chronic nature. Cocaine-induced cardiomyopathy, one of these effects, may require pharmacologic or interventional therapy. Decisions regarding initiation of therapy and patient follow-up post exposure are determined based on the patient's initial presentation and the clinical picture observed during the recovery period. The role of the pharmacist is to ensure that pharmacologic treatment has been properly identified and implemented and to counsel patients on the importance of abstinence from cocaine use.


Of the more than 2.5 million emergency department visits related to drug abuse in the United States in 2011, more than half resulted from illicit drug use.[1] Approximately 40% of these visits were related to cocaine use, which indicates that cocaine is perhaps one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the U.S.[1] In 2012, 2.2% of the U.S. population aged 12 years and older used cocaine.[2]