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Have you seen this recent study on HCV and what is your opinion on it?
Jul 31, 2012

Dear Doctor,

Have you seen the latest study published in Oxford Journal of Public Health on the association between use of HCV and non-injection drug implements?

http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/03/25/pubmed.fds018.abstract

There seem to be very different opinions on this issue. Is it a real risk? Do you recommend testing for someone who has snorted a couple of times with friends with no other risk factors?

Thank you for your opinion!

Response from Dr. McGovern

I think this is a very interesting paper. It suggests that there is little risk associated with snorting cocaine and HCV infection..This analysis was done among persons who denied ever using injection drugs.

There was a large paper published in the past that suggested an association between snorting cocaine and HCV infection. However, in this study, the patients were NOT asked if they had used injection drugs or not. So...intranasal cocaine use, which was associated with HCV in this study - could have been related to injection drug use that was not reported by the patients.

If there is ANY risk...I think it is really low...I almost always find some other route by history that is much more concerning that snorting cocaine.

By the way, it is also important to know that cocaine constricts the blood vessels of the heart and liver. Thus, cocaine can lead to heart attacks and hepatitis from not enough blood flow (and oxygen) to the liver.



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