A comparison of medical symptoms reported by cocaine‐, opiate‐, and alcohol‐dependent patients


Journal Article

Substance abuse is frequently associated with adverse medical consequences. The differences in medical symptoms reported by 101 alcohol‐, 113 cocaine‐, and 107 opiate‐dependent individuals receiving outpatient treatment were studied using a 134‐item questionnaire (MILCOM). Data analysis revealed interesting and unexpected findings, with cocaine patients reporting the fewest total symptoms among the three groups. Moreover, cocaine patients reported significantly fewer CNS and musculo‐skeletal symptoms compared to both alcohol and opiate patients and significantly fewer GI and urinary symptoms than the alcohol but not the opiate patients. In addition, there were sex‐ and race‐related differences in the pattern of symptoms reported. Women reported significantly more CVS, mood, nose/throat, CNS, skin, and GI symptoms than men. Similarly, Caucasians reported significantly more mood, CNS, nose/throat, head/neck, musculoskeletal, and GI symptoms than African‐Americans. The study highlights the influence of drug of choice, gender, and race on medical needs of substance‐abusing persons. © 1999 Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Patkar, AA; Sterling, RC; Gottheil, E; Weinstein, SP

Published Date

  • January 1, 1999

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 20 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 227 - 235

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1547-0164

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0889-7077

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/08897079909511408

Citation Source

  • Scopus