16 How Recreational Drugs Affect Asthma

  • Timothy E. Albertson
  • Steve Offerman
  • Nicholas J. Kenyon
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)


  • Because of the recent epidemic, drugs of abuse have more opportunity to interact with a common disease such as asthma.

  • Drugs of abuse have not been proven to cause asthma, but they may exacerbate preexisting asthma.

  • Case reports of asthma exacerbations after recreational drug abuse continue to increase.

  • Abuse of cocaine and the opioid heroin have the richest literature supporting an interaction with asthma and offer possible pathophysiological mechanisms.

  • Marijuana use, like tobacco use, can lead to a progressive decline in lung function.

  • Tobacco use, but not nicotine addiction, is associated with worsening of asthma and obstructive pulmonary function changes.

  • Healthcare providers need to specifically question their patients with asthma about recreational drug use and educate them about potential interactions.

  • The only definitive treatment to eliminate any potential interaction between drug abuse and asthma is abstinence.


Environmental Tobacco Smoke Recreational Drug Tracheal Stenosis Cocaine Abuse Eosinophilic Pneumonia 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy E. Albertson
    • 1
  • Steve Offerman
    • 2
  • Nicholas J. Kenyon
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California at DavisDavis
  2. 2.Department of Emergency Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of California at DavisSacramento

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