Methamphetamine is one of the most commonly abused drugs, and its effects on different organs in the body are well-documented. However, there is limited knowledge about its potential to cause a specific type of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Recent studies have shown that methamphetamine can indeed cause IBD, providing new insights into the relationship between methamphetamine abuse and IBD. A 40-year-old woman with a history of medical treatment for obesity was referred to the hospital with severe chest and back pain, sweating, nausea, agitation, high blood pressure, bradycardia and, later, lethargy and vasomotor instability.
Toxicological urine analysis revealed methamphetamine. Subsequently, abdominal pain predominated and ultrasound revealed signs of intestinal infarction. The patient did not agree to surgery and then succumbed. The autopsy found gangrene and perforation of the distal ileum, with the cause of death determined to be intestinal gangrene following methamphetamine toxicity.
Methamphetamine has anorexic effects and is therefore used in some diet pills; users may not even know that they are using methamphetamine. Therefore, in cases of known abuse of Alzheimer's disease or of people using unknown weight-reducing medications who have gastrointestinal complaints or abdominal pain, intestinal ischemia should be considered and, if possible, intervened promptly. In order to further understand the relationship between methamphetamine abuse and IBD, genomics of intestinal DEGs obtained from the methamphetamine-induced mouse IBD model were analyzed using bioinformatic analysis. This analysis showed that methamphetamine can indeed cause a specific type of IBD.
Additionally, proinflammatory factors (IL-6, INF-gamma, TNF-α and NF-1b) were evaluated in the animal model with methamphetamine to explore inflammatory bowel injury caused by methamphetamine. In conclusion, it is important for all doctors to be aware that methamphetamine use is a rare cause of intestinal ischemia but it is clinically important due to its high morbidity and mortality. Knowledge of methamphetamine-induced intestinal ischemia has been limited to a few case reports; however, recent studies have provided new insights into the relationship between methamphetamine abuse and IBD.