Discussion: Methamphetamine is recognized as the most common illegal stimulant in the United States today, where its use has reached epidemic proportions. A myriad of negative health affects have been reported, but direct pulmonary toxicity has rarely been described in the literature. A single animal study demonstrated bronchoalveolar lavage fluid evidence of acute lung injury, a precursor to fibrosis, in mice exposed to inhaled methamphetamine1. A single case report described progressive pulmonary fibrosis in a chronic user of methamphetamine secondary to associated talc inhalation, which is often used as a “filler” material when methamphetamine is “cut”, or mixed2.
Conclusions: Pulmonary fibrosis is a rare complication of inhaled methamphetamine use. As the methamphetamine epidemic continues, this will likely become a more common etiology of interstitial lung disease. A detailed exposure history, which may be difficult to obtain because of the associated social stigma, is of paramount importance in identifying this risk factor.
1.Wells SM, Buford MC. Acute inhalation exposure to vaporized methamphetamine causes lung injury in mice. Inhalation toxicology. 2008 July; 20(9):829- 838
To cite this abstract:VanHook, CJ; Laursen, A; Warner, B; Tangel, D . METHAMPHETAMINE PULMONARY TOXICITY: A RARE COMPLICATION OF A COMMON DRUG OF ABUSE. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2017, May 1-4, 2017; Las Vegas, Nev. Abstract 771. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2017; 12 (suppl 2). https://www.shmabstracts.com/abstract/methamphetamine-pulmonary-toxicity-a-rare-complication-of-a-common-drug-of-abuse/. Accessed September 15, 2019.