Drug-induced spongiform leucoencephalopathy, a case report with review of the literature

Acta Neurol Belg. 1998 Mar;98(1):32-5.


A nineteen year-old girl developed rhabdomyolysis and central pyrexia after the ingestion of multiple drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, methadone, ethanol, and cocaine. On admission, the patient was deeply comatose and during the hospitalisation asymmetrical spastic quadriparesis was noted. Brain biopsy was diagnostic of spongiform leucoencephalopathy. A review of the literature concerning drug-induced spongiform encephalopathy revealed a large amount of heroin-induced cases. The role of cocaine, however, is less well described. After prolonged hospitalisation, our patient improved clinically and radiologically and could be transferred to a rehabilitation center.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prion Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Prion Diseases / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed