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Emergency: requires immediate attention
Drug-induced stroke
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Emergency: requires immediate attention

Drug-induced stroke

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Contributors: Erin Keenan MLIS, Richard L. Barbano MD, PhD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Synopsis

A stroke is an acute neurologic injury that can lead to long-term disability or death. Certain drugs have been shown to be risk factors for stroke, especially when used in combination with other risk factors for stroke.

Hemorrhagic strokes include intracerebral, subdural, and subarachnoid hemorrhages. They are the result of bleeding into the brain or the surrounding spaces and are associated with hypertension, bleeding disorders, aneurysm rupture, and drug use. Anticoagulants and thrombolytic agents are commonly indicated, as well as drugs of abuse such as cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, and heroin.

Ischemic strokes are predominantly either thrombotic or embolic. Thrombotic strokes occur secondary to arterial thrombus formation, which either reduces distal blood flow to the brain or causes complete occlusion. Embolic strokes often occur when an embolus develops due to cardiac arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, or cardiac structural abnormalities and then blocks brain arterial blood flow. Antipsychotics (quetiapine, zotepine, valproic acid), menopausal hormone therapy, oral contraceptives, and cannabis use have been linked with ischemic stroke.

Findings present suddenly and depend on the area of the brain that is affected. They include unilateral numbness or weakness occurring in the face, arms, or legs. Acute confusion, speech abnormalities, vision field defects, gaze deviation, gait disturbance, ataxia, poor balance, dizziness, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, altered mental status, and loss of consciousness may also occur. Seizures may also be a presenting symptom. In cases of subdural hemorrhage, symptoms may develop more subacutely.

Drug-induced stroke etiology can include induced hypertension, vasoconstriction, impaired coagulation, vasculopathy, disturbed heart function, or increased risk of endocarditis.

Related topics: Cerebellar stroke, Brain stem stroke

Codes

ICD10CM:
I63.9  – Cerebral infarction, unspecified

SNOMEDCT:
230690007 – Cerebrovascular accident

Look For

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Diagnostic Pearls

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

Non-drug-induced cerebrovascular syndromes including:

Best Tests

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Management Pearls

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Therapy

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Drug Reaction Data

Below is a list of drugs with literature evidence indicating an adverse association with this diagnosis. The list is continually updated through ongoing research and new medication approvals. Click on Citations to sort by number of citations or click on Medication to sort the medications alphabetically.

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References

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Last Reviewed: 01/17/2018
Last Updated: 01/31/2018
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Emergency: requires immediate attention
Drug-induced stroke
Print 1 Images
Drug-induced stroke : Altered mental state, Headache, Nausea/vomiting, Loss of consciousness, Numbness, Nystagmus, Vertigo, Weakness
Copyright © 2019 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.