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Illicit Drug Use And The Risk Of New-Onset Seizures

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Abstract

The authors studied the use of heroin, marijuana, and cocaine before the onset of a first seizure in 308 patients with seizures and 294 controls at Harlem Hospital Center, New York City, between 1981 and 1984. Heroin use, both past and present, appeared to be a risk factor for all first seizures (adjusted odds ratio=2.80, 95% confidence interval (Cl) 1.53—5.74). For unprovoked seizures, the adjusted odds ratio was 2.58 (95% Cl 1.36—4.90) for ever heroin use and 4.70 (95% Cl 0.86—25.78) for heroin use within 24 hours of hospitalization. For provoked seizures, respective adjusted odds ratios were 3.65 (95% Cl 1.54—8.65) and 27.74 (95% Cl 3.57—215.52). Marijuana use appeared to be a protective factor against first seizures in men. For men with unprovoked seizures, the adjusted odds ratio was 0.42 (95% Cl 0.22—0.82) for ever marijuana use and 0.36 (95% Cl 0.18—0.74) for marijuana use within 90 days of hospitalization. For men with provoked seizures, respective adjusted odds ratios were 1.03 (95% Cl 0.36—2.89) and 0.18 (95% Cl 0.04—0.84). Cocaine use, while common among study subjects, was not shown to be a significant risk factor either for all first seizures or for subgroups of seizures, regardless of the time of last use. The authors conclude that heroin use is a risk factor and marijuana use a protective factor for new-onset seizures.

Source: ILLICIT DRUG USE AND THE RISK OF NEW-ONSET SEIZURES
 
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