Cerebrovascular complications of alcohol and sympathomimetic drug abuse

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32 Scopus citations


Alcohol abuse has been linked to intracranial hemorrhage, both intracerebral and subarachnoid. Some studies have found a dose-response relationship, so that increasing levels of abuse are associated with greater risk of hemorrhage. However, alcohol abuse has not been clearly linked to cerebral infarction, and some studies find that mild-to-moderate drinking appears to be associated with a decreased risk of cerebral infarction. Intravenous administration of drugs of abuse predisposes to endocarditis, which may lead to embolic stroke. Associations have been reported between various sympathomimetic drugs and cerebral infarction. A possible mechanism for cerebral infarction is focal arterial vasoconstriction and occasionally cerebral vasculitis. Associations have also been reported between various sympathomimetic drugs and intracranial hemorrhage. A likely mechanism for intracranial hemorrhage is acute arterial hypertension. With the exception of endocarditis, management of stroke related to drug abuse is largely supportive, with emphasis on supportive care to prevent stroke complications, physical and occupational therapy, and aggressive addiction rehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-45
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent neurology and neuroscience reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology


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