Cutaneous complications of intravenous drug abuse

Br J Dermatol. 2004 Jan;150(1):1-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2004.05607.x.


Injection drug abuse is a world-wide problem responsible for numerous minor to life-threatening and fatal complications. The skin is the tissue most evidently affected by intravenous drug addiction. A wide spectrum of cutaneous complications may occur in intravenous drug users. These include acute or delayed local complications, hypersensitivity reactions, cutaneous manifestations of systemic infections or becoming the site of toxigenic infections. Between 1996 and 2001, in our institution in south-eastern France, we observed cutaneous complications after crushed buprenorphine tablet injections in 13 patients. This paper reviews and classifies adverse effects of parenteral drug abuse on the skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Drug Hypersensitivity / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Skin Diseases / etiology*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / etiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / complications*