"Studies have shown that cocaine can affect organ function, but the specific effect on renal function has not been well-established," Dr. NeSmith says.
She will compare urine levels of microalbuminuria, a biomarker for early renal disease, in a group of cocaine-dependent African-Americans to a control group who don't use the drug.
"If cocaine-dependent African-Americans have occult renal disease that not been clinically identified yet, that would make a difference when deciding a treatment plan," Dr. NeSmith says.
Some drugs used to treat cocaine addiction have adverse effects on the kidneys, so it's important to know if a patient suffers from asymptomatic renal disease. If that's the case, alternative drug doses or treatments could be used.
The study also will examine the relationship between microalbuminuria levels with blood levels of several inflammation biomarkers. Inflammation is linked to chronic stress, which poses another setback for this patient population by making them increasingly susceptible to organ failure, especially after trauma.
"Many people who are involved in trauma are also substance abusers," Dr. NeSmith says. "If we're able to identify a population with sub-clinical renal problems before potentially life-threatening trauma occurs, treatment can be tailored to the patient's physiology by keeping all existing comorbidities in mind."
The findings of this pilot study will be used to develop further studies focused on early diagnosis and treatment of cocaine-related complications to reduce morbidity, Dr. NeSmith says
|Contact: Paula Hinely|
Medical College of Georgia