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      Levamisole-induced leukocytoclastic vasculitis and neutropenia in a patient with cocaine use: An extensive case with necrosis of skin, soft tissue, and cartilage


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          Levamisole-induced vasculitis is a relatively new entity in people who use cocaine. We describe a 44-year-old woman with a history of cocaine use who presented with a complaint of a painful rash of 2-3 month’s duration on her extremities, cheeks, nose, and earlobes. She had not experienced fever, weight loss, alopecia, dry eyes, oral ulcers, photosensitivity, or arthralgia. Examination revealed tender purpuric eruptions with central necrosis on her nose, cheeks, earlobes, and extremities. Laboratory investigations revealed neutropenia, an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), presence of lupus anticoagulant, low complement component 3 (C3), and presence of perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (p-ANCA). A urine toxicology screen was positive for cocaine, and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry was positive for levamisole. Skin biopsy showed leukocytoclastic vasculitis and small vessel thrombosis. Necrotic lesions of the nose led to its self-amputation. Large bullae on the lower extremities ruptured, leading to wound infection and extensive necrosis that required multiple surgical debridements. When necrosis progressed despite debridement, bilateral above-knee amputation of the legs was performed. Once new lesions stopped appearing, the patient was discharged home. Two months later, she had a recurrence related to cocaine use. To the best of our knowledge, this is only the second reported case of levamisole-induced vasculitis that required above-knee amputation.

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          Most cited references 34

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          Amphetamine-type central nervous system stimulants release norepinephrine more potently than they release dopamine and serotonin.

          A large body of evidence supports the hypothesis that mesolimbic dopamine (DA) mediates, in animal models, the reinforcing effects of central nervous system stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamine. The role DA plays in mediating amphetamine-type subjective effects of stimulants in humans remains to be established. Both amphetamine and cocaine increase norepinephrine (NE) via stimulation of release and inhibition of reuptake, respectively. If increases in NE mediate amphetamine-type subjective effects of stimulants in humans, then one would predict that stimulant medications that produce amphetamine-type subjective effects in humans should share the ability to increase NE. To test this hypothesis, we determined, using in vitro methods, the neurochemical mechanism of action of amphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), (+)-methamphetamine, ephedrine, phentermine, and aminorex. As expected, their rank order of potency for DA release was similar to their rank order of potency in published self-administration studies. Interestingly, the results demonstrated that the most potent effect of these stimulants is to release NE. Importantly, the oral dose of these stimulants, which produce amphetamine-type subjective effects in humans, correlated with the their potency in releasing NE, not DA, and did not decrease plasma prolactin, an effect mediated by DA release. These results suggest that NE may contribute to the amphetamine-type subjective effects of stimulants in humans.
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            Modes of action of anthelmintic drugs.

            Modes of action of anthelmintic drugs are described. Some anthelmintic drugs act rapidly and selectively on neuromuscular transmission of nematodes. Levamisole, pyrantel and morantel are agonists at nicotinic acetylcholine receptors of nematode muscle and cause spastic paralysis. Dichlorvos and haloxon are organophosphorus cholinesterase antagonists. Piperazine is a GABA (gamma-amino-butyric acid) agonist at receptors on nematode muscles and causes flaccid paralysis. The avermectins increase the opening of glutamate-gated chloride (GluCl) channels and produce paralysis of pharyngeal pumping. Praziquantel has a selective effect on the tegument of trematodes and increases permeability of calcium. Other anthelmintics have a biochemical mode of action. The benzimidazole drugs bind selectively to beta-tubulin of nematodes, cestodes and fluke, and inhibit microtubule formation. The salicylanilides: rafoxanide, oxyclozanide, brotianide and closantel and the substituted phenol, nitroxynil, are proton ionophores. Clorsulon is a selective antagonist of fluke phosphoglycerate kinase and mutase. Diethylcarbamazine blocks host, and possibly parasite, enzymes involved in arachidonic acid metabolism, and enhances the innate, nonspecific immune system.
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              Monoamine transporters and psychostimulant addiction.

              Psychostimulants are a broadly defined class of drugs that stimulate the central and peripheral nervous systems as their primary pharmacological effect. The abuse liability of psychostimulants is well established and represents a significant public health concern. An extensive literature documents the critical importance of monoamines (dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine) in the behavioral pharmacology and addictive properties of psychostimulants. In particular, the dopamine transporter plays a primary role in the reinforcing and behavioral-stimulant effects of psychostimulants in animals and humans. Moreover, both serotonin and norepinephrine systems can reliably modulate the neurochemical and behavioral effects of psychostimulants. However, there is a growing body of evidence that highlights complex interactions among additional neurotransmitter systems. Cortical glutamatergic systems provide important regulation of dopamine function, and inhibitory amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) systems can modulate basal dopamine and glutamate release. Repeated exposure to psychostimulants can lead to robust and enduring changes in neurobiological substrates, including monoamines, and corresponding changes in sensitivity to acute drug effects on neurochemistry and behavior. Significant advances in the understanding of neurobiological mechanisms underlying psychostimulant abuse and dependence have guided pharmacological treatment strategies to improve clinical outcome. In particular, functional agonist treatments may be used effectively to stabilize monoamine neurochemistry, influence behavior and lead to long-term abstinence. However, additional clinical studies are required in order to identify safe and efficacious pharmacotherapies.

                Author and article information

                Addict Sci Clin Pract
                Addict Sci Clin Pract
                Addiction Science & Clinical Practice
                BioMed Central
                24 September 2012
                : 7
                : 1
                : 19
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit Medical Center, 4201 Saint Antoine Street, Detroit, 48201, MI, USA
                Copyright ©2012 Arora et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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