Chronic exposure to cocaine is associated with persistent behavioral disturbances. A cross-sectional dimensional study in outpatients with multiple substance use disorders

Florence Vorspan, Pauline de Witt, El-Hadi Zerdazi, Emily Karsinti, Kamilia Ksouda, Romain Icick, Frank Bellivier, Nicolas Marie, Georges Brousse, Vanessa Bloch
Psychopharmacology 2020 August 3

RATIONALE: Behavioral disturbances (BD) are prevalent in patients with substance use disorders (SUD).

OBJECTIVES: To test the hypothesis that chronic exposure to cocaine could favor the acquisition of BD that were not present in childhood.

METHODS: We used child and adult ADHD self-report screening scales (WURS-25 and ASRS-6, respectively, with their usual threshold) as assessment tools for significant BD. In a cross-sectional assessment of 382 patients with multiple SUD, we investigated BD and then "de novo" BD (i.e., by restricting the sample to patients below the threshold for childhood BD) (N = 214). We also tested for a gradient effect between patients' lifetime DSM IV cocaine and opioid dependence status and the prevalence of BD.

RESULTS: BD were found in 188/382 (42.9%) subjects and in 74/214 (34.6%) subjects. Three clinical factors were associated with BD in the whole sample: the number of cocaine dependence criteria (OR = 1.36 [1.14-1.64], p = 0.001), the number of opioid dependence criteria (OR = 0.69 [0.52-0.91], p = 0.010), and a personal history of using cocaine through rapid routes of administration (OR = 0.41 [0.19-0.88], p = 0.022). The same three factors were associated with "de novo" BD in the restricted sample: OR = 1.35 ([1.11-1.63], p = 0.002), OR = 0.83 ([0.70-0.99], p = 0.046), and OR 0.37 ([0.16-0.86], p = 0.022), respectively. There were significant gradients for BD according to the cocaine exposure categories in the whole (Mantel-Haenszel, p < 0.001) and in the restricted sample (Mantel-Haenszel, p = 0.002).

CONCLUSIONS: Cocaine exposure was positively associated with behavioral disturbances in a dose-dependent manner in this clinical sample, whilst opioid exposure showed a negative association.

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