Cocaine is a natural alkaloid extracted from the leaves of the South American plant Erythroxylum coca or synthesized chemically. After cannabis, it is the second most frequently abused recreational substance worldwide. Cocaine can affect every tissue and organ within the human body, including the kidneys, causing tissue ischemia due to vasoconstriction, endothelial dysfunction and damage, procoagulant activity and oxidative stress with subsequent ischemic infarctions and fibrosis. The renal changes in cocaine abuse and addiction are due to rhabdomyolysis, ischemic, hypertensive, and inflammatory changes with the development of cell proliferation and fibrosis. The authors present three patients with cocaine-associated renal damage and discuss the underlying mechanisms of cocaine-induces tissue changes.
Rhabdomyolysis (RM) is defined as striate muscle-cell damage with disintegration of skeletal muscles and release of intracellular constituents to the circulation, with or without subsequent kidney injury. RM is one of the leading causes of acute kidney injury and is associated with substantial morbidity. The major signs of acute kidney injury in rhabdomyolysis are: pain, weakness and swelling of the injured muscle or muscle groups and myoglobinuria with reddish discoloration of the urine and decrease in urine output to anuria. The authors describe three cases of rhabdomyolysis with acute renal injury and discuss the current knowledge on the etiopathogenesis, clinical manifestations, diagnosis and treatment of this condition.