Methamphetamine use tied to increased rates of pulmonary diseases
New data suggest that methamphetamine users may be more likely to be hospitalized for pulmonary diseases such as pneumonia and acute respiratory failure.
Using data from the State Inpatient Databases from California included in the Health Care Utilization Project database, the researchers identified hospitalizations for asthma exacerbation, COPD exacerbation, acute pneumonia and acute respiratory failure and methamphetamine use through ICD-9 codes. A total of 21,125,249 adult inpatient discharge abstracts, including 182,766 with methamphetamine use, from 2005 to 2011 were included in the analysis.
For methamphetamine users vs. nonusers, the rate ratio for having a principal hospital discharge abstract for acute pneumonia was 1.4 (95% CI, 1.18-1.67) in women and 1.18 (95% CI, 1.04-1.35) in men. Similarly, the rate ratio for having a discharge diagnosis of acute respiratory failure among methamphetamine users vs. nonusers was 1.77 (95% CI, 1.59-1.98) for women and 1.24 (95% CI, 1.12-1.37) for men.
However, the rate ratio for having a principal hospital discharge abstract for acute exacerbation of COPD among methamphetamine users vs. nonusers was 1.23 (95% CI, 1.06-1.42) for women but 0.9 (95% CI, 0.79-1.02) for men. Additionally, neither male nor female methamphetamine users were more likely than nonusers to have a simultaneous principal hospital discharge abstract for acute exacerbations of asthma.
The median age was 37 years for methamphetamine users and 57 years for nonusers. There were more men among methamphetamine users than among nonusers (58% vs. 38%), and a dual diagnosis of tobacco use was more common among methamphetamine users vs. nonusers (37% vs. 14%).
“When adjusted for age, race, economic quartile and tobacco smoking, discharge diagnoses with methamphetamine use diagnoses are associated with higher rates of concurrent diagnoses of community-acquired pneumonia and acute respiratory failure among men and women, and acute COPD exacerbation among women when compared with those with no methamphetamine use diagnosis,” the researchers wrote. “Further investigation is necessary to elucidate a potential mechanism on how methamphetamine use leads to development of these common pulmonary diagnoses. We hope that this study brings awareness to the growing methamphetamine epidemic and its potential for lung injury beyond the pulmonary vasculature and the cardiopulmonary system, namely the airways and lung parenchyma.” – by Melissa Foster
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.