Purpose: As cocaine abuse has become widespread, catastrophic cocaine-associated cardiovascular events have been noted with increasing frequency. Although these incidents are thought to be caused by drug-induced vasoconstriction and/or arterial thrombosis, the influence of cocaine on the plasma constituents involved in endogenous thrombosis and thrombolysis has not been characterized.
Patients and methods: In 22 patients (8 men, 14 women, ages 32 to 62 years) undergoing cardiac catheterization, blood samples were procured before and 15 minutes after the administration of intranasal saline (n = 8, controls) or cocaine, 2 mg/kg (n = 14), and the plasma concentrations of fibrinogen, plasminogen, and lipoprotein(a), as well as tissue plasminogen activator activity and plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) activity, were measured.
Results: No variable changed with the use of intranasal saline, whereas the use of cocaine resulted in an increase in PAI-1 activity (0.48 + 0.06 [mean + SD] nmol/L at baseline, 0.53 + 0.05 nmol/L after cocaine, P = 0.011).
Conclusion: Intranasal cocaine administration is associated with an increase in plasma PAI-1 activity. This may be important in recreational users of cocaine who experience vascular thrombosis.