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Drug use and mononucleosis

Dec 3, 1998

Does using alcohol and cocaine periodically have an effect on the bodies ability to fight mononucleosis? A friend has had "mono" for almost one year now, suffering from swollen glands and an enlarged liver, and I am wondering if occasional cocaine use is contributing to the extended symptoms and ability for the body to fight the disease.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Thank you for your question. When a person has Mononucleosis (Mono), the symptoms generally last a few weeks, but on occasion, the symptoms may last for months. In one study, 11% of patients with mononucleosis had symptoms longer than 100 days, and 6% of patients had symptoms after one year. But for most people, the symptoms only last for a few weeks.

I have found nothing in the medical literature that specifically addresses if substance abuse (for example cocaine and alcohol abuse) would prolong the symptoms of mononucleosis. However, it would not be surprising if substance abuse could possibly have some effect on slowing down the recovery period of mono, at least to some extent. But until studies are done on this issue, we cannot say for sure if substance abuse would prolong the symptoms of mononucleosis.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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