Glasgow & West Scotland

Public health alert issued over cocaine condition

Public health experts in Glasgow have issued an alert to clinicians after a cocaine user was found to have a rare condition associated with the use of the Class A drug.

A patient was treated in a Glasgow hospital for methaemoglobinaemia, a serious condition affecting how oxygen is carried in the blood.

Consultant Dr Eleanor Anderson said chemicals added to increase the volume of cocaine can induce the condition.

Symptoms include blue lips and fatigue.

Sufferers can also experience headaches, abnormal heart rates, breathlessness, fatigue, exercise intolerance and dizziness.

The condition can lead to loss of consciousness, seizures and in severe cases coma and death.

Dr Anderson said: "If any cocaine users display any of these symptoms they should present to their nearest A&E, GP or health centre for prompt assessment and treatment for what is potentially a very serious condition."

The person who had the condition has now been discharged from hospital, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said.

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