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Severe Thrombocytopenia Associated with Cocaine Use

Cindy A. Leissinger, MD
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Requests for Reprints: Cindy Leissinger, MD, Section of Hematology-Medical Oncology, Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112.

Current Author Address: Cindy Leissinger, MD, Section of Hematology-Medical Oncology, Tulane University School of Medicine, 1430 Tulane Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70112.

Ann Intern Med. 1990;112(9):708-710. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-112-9-708
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During the past 15 months, six habitual cocaine users have been evaluated for severe, destructive thrombocytopenia with platelet counts of less than 20 x 109/L. None of our patients had antibodies to type 1-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and five of five tested were negative for antibodies to human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I (HTLV-I), a reportedly common finding in intravenous drug users in the New Orleans area (1). Five patients used cocaine intravenously, whereas the sixth patient used cocaine only by inhalation. A direct, causal relation between cocaine use and thrombocytopenia that is unrelated to retroviral infection is suggested, with


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