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Archivos de Pediatría del Uruguay

versión impresa ISSN 0004-0584versión On-line ISSN 1688-1249


JUANENA, Carolina et al. Cases of exposure to cocaine in children under 5 years of age. Arch. Pediatr. Urug. [online]. 2018, vol.89, n.6, pp.366-373. ISSN 0004-0584.

Children born of cocaine-using mothers are exposed to the substance during the prenatal and breastfeeding periods. They are also at risk of cocaine unintentional ingestion or mucosal contact when the substance remains within their reach or at risk of passive inhalation of smoke from cocaine smoked in confined environments.


describe the cocaine exposure epidemiological profile in children under 5 years of age in our country, analyze circumstances of exposure, clinical manifestations and acute complications.

Material and methods:

observational, descriptive and retrospective study of the consultations reported to a Toxicological Center during 2010-2016 of children up to 5 years of age with positive urine cocaine screening.


we included 18 cases, but only 17 were analyzed, due to insufficient data. All children were under 2 years of age. Neurological manifestations were predominant (12/17): seizures (7/12). Other manifestations included tachycardia (2/17), hypertension (3/17), total creatinine phosphokinase increase (4/17) and rhabdomyolysis (2/17). Fourteen patients have been breastfed, but only seven mothers showed positive screening. Cocaine positive screening was the selection criteria because of its low false positive rate. This series matches the literature regarding the main age risk regarding cocaine exposure; breastfeeding was considered the main source of exposure. However, the results show that other sources are possible. Seizures were the most frequent form of presentation.


reported cases show that we should be cautious regarding neurological or cardiovascular symptoms, support the implementation of screening tests and expand risk circumstances.

Palabras clave : Cocaine; Poisoning; Maternal exposure; Children.

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