Background: Cocaine abuse is a significant health problem worldwide. We aim to evaluate the role of selenium in oxidative stress in patients with cocaine related cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases. Selenium is of fundamental importance to human health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways.
Methods: We included 26 patients with chronic cocaine abuse separated into two groups according to duration of intake - from six months up to one year and more than a year, with and without only vascular incidents (TIA, stroke, myocardial infarction), or presence of hypertension. All included groups were analyzed for laboratory parameters: CBC, CRP, AST, ALT, γ-GT, serum creatinine, urea, K, Na, and Ca. Main risk factors were evaluated: total cholesterol, LDL and HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, and selenium.
Results: Our result shows that in the first group only 20% have cardiovascular problems. In the group with cocaine abuse more than a year, number of vascular incidents has increased (58.3%). Patients from the group cocaine abuse up to 1 year showed no changes in lipid profile, but cocaine abuse more than a year showed interesting changes in the lipid profile. We found a high positive correlation between the two cocaine groups for plasma selenium concentrations. This means that after the first six months oxidative stress has occured. It increases with duration of cocaine abuse. CRP correlated positively between these two groups, showing an endothelial function disorder.
Conclusions: Development of oxidative stress increased with cocaine abuse, which leads to lower plasma selenium levels in patients with different duration of intake - less and more than a year. It is possible to supplement selenium during the early period of cocaine dependence to prevent hard vascular accidents, which are common after more than one year of cocaine abuse.