Cocaine is the second most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, 1 and is the most frequent illicit substance to precipitate an emergency room visit, responsible for over 550,000 visits in 2007 alone. 2 The majority of patients present with a chief complaint of chest pain3, and approximately 6% are diagnosed with cocaine associated myocardial infarction.4For decades it has been thought that beta-blockade in the setting of cocaine use would precipitate coronary vasospasm and worsen cardiovascular outcomes due to unopposed alpha receptor stimulation. In 1999 this thinking was incorporated into the ACC/AHA guidelines, which currently recommend beta-blockers in all patients with an acute coronary syndrome except in the setting of prior cocaine use.4 Recently there have been several studies suggesting benefit from beta-blocker administration in patients with cocaine associated chest pain and myocardial ischemia.
Finkel MD, Jonathan and Marhefka, MD, Gregary
"Time for Reassessment: A Review of Beta-blockers in the Setting of Cocaine Associated Chest Pain and Acute Coronary Syndrome,"
The Medicine Forum:
Vol. 12, Article 7.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/tmf/vol12/iss1/7