Frequency of cutaneous manifestations in drug abuse patients.

  • Zahid Rafiq Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal.
  • Syed Muntazir Mehdi Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal.
  • Urfa Shafi Shalamar Medical and Dental College, Lahore.
Keywords: Cutaneous Manifestations, Chronic Skin Changes, Drug Abuse


Objective: Drug abuse and drug addiction cases have been increased immensely in last few decades in Pakistan. This study was conducted to assess the frequency of cutaneous manifestations in drug abuse patients. Study Design: Cross Sectional study. Settings: Dermatology Department of a DHQ Teaching Hospital/Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal and Central Jail Hospital, Sahiwal. Period: November 2019 to June 2020. Material & Methods: 50 patients with drug abuse irrespective of age and gender were selected. Skin manifestations based on history and examination recorded on predesigned proforma. Laboratory investigations and skin biopsies were performed to confirm diagnoses in doubtful cases. Results: A total of 50 male patients with age above 16 years were enrolled. Single drug addiction was noticed in 62% (n=31) and polydrug abuse was observed in 38% (n=19). Regarding mode of drug intake, single and multiple modes of drug administration were seen in equal number 50% (n=25) each. Major bulk of skin manifestations were chronic including skin scars 66% (n=33), xerosis 60% (n=30), hyperpigmentation 58% (n=29), oral mucosal changes 94% (n=47) and facial skin changes 60% (n=30). Acute along with chronic skin changes were observed in 30% (n=15) mainly including injection marks 30% (n=15), vascular changes 12% (n=6) and infections 8% (n=4). Conclusion: Skin scars, xerosis, hyperpigmentation and oral mucosal changes are the common skin changes observed among drug abusers. Thus, physicians need to be aware of skin signs of drug abuse for timely recognition of substance abuse disorders and effective management.

Author Biographies

Zahid Rafiq, Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal.


Associate Professor Dermatology

Syed Muntazir Mehdi, Sahiwal Medical College, Sahiwal.


Assistant Professor Psychiatry

Urfa Shafi, Shalamar Medical and Dental College, Lahore.


Associate Professor Pathology