Author(s): SantolariaFernndez FJ, GmezSirvent JL, GonzlezReimers CE, BatistaLpez JN, JorgeHernndez JA,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To discern if factors such as organic pathology, sex, duration and/or intensity of drug addiction, alcohol abuse, hepatitis B infection, anorexia with poor food and drink consumption, or disturbance of social and familial networks, are related to an impaired nutritional status in hospitalized drug addicts. DESIGN: Cross-sectional prospective study. SETTING: Detoxication unit and internal medicine unit of a university hospital. PATIENTS: 140 drug addicts without acute organic pathology and 18 with acute organic pathology related to drug addiction. The immunological study was compared with a control group composed of 50 healthy and well-nourished individuals (26 women and 24 men), age-matched with our patients. RESULTS: Drug addicts without organic pathology were under-nourished: 92.4\% weighed under the mean weight for the population and 55.7\% had had a weight loss above 5\%. The distribution of mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), triceps skinfold (TSF) measurement and mid-arm muscle area (MAMA) compared with the percentiles for the population showed a shift towards lower values. We found a high percentage of patients with a high lymphocyte count (55\%). Despite the high lymphocyte count, delayed hypersensitivity was depressed in our patients. Of our patients, 66.4\% exhibited anorexia at admission. The mean calorific intake was 978 +/- 89 kcal/day in females and 1265 +/- 64 kcal/day in males. However, in most cases, malnutrition (usually marasmus-like malnutrition) was not very severe; only 30\% of the drug addicts weighed less than 80\% of the mean weight for the population, or admitted to a weight loss above 10\%, and by subjective nutritional assessment, only 18\% were deeply malnourished. Otherwise, the nutritional status was very poor in drug addicts with acute organic pathology. We also found a worse nutritional status in our patients related to female sex, intensity of drug addiction, anorexia with poor food and drink consumption, and disturbance of the social and familial networks. CONCLUSIONS: Many drug addicts suffer from calorie and protein malnutrition. This mainutrition is related to female sex, intensity of drug addiction, anorexia and poor food and drink consumption, and disturbance of the social and familial links. Acute organic pathology leads to a significant worsening of the nutritional status of drug addicts.
This article was published in Drug Alcohol Depend
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy