n South African Medical Journal - Hypertension, end-stage renal disease and mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis in methamphetamine users : research

Volume 105, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Methamphetamine abuse has risen dramatically in South Africa. The chronic effects of abuse on the kidneys and blood pressure have not been documented. This study reviewed patients referred for evaluation of kidney disease and/or hypertension, who had been abusing methamphetamines.

The records of patients referred to the renal unit between 2005 and 2013 who had been using methamphetamines were retrospectively reviewed. Patient demographics, biophysical parameters, blood pressure, renal function, renal ultrasound and biopsy findings, complications of chronic kidney disease and comorbidities were recorded.
Forty-seven patients were included in the study. Their mean age was 29 years. Hypertension was present in 42 (89.4%) of patients, with malignant hypertension in 21 (44.7%). Forty-five (95.7%) had chronic kidney disease (CKD), and 26 (55.3%) had end-stage renal disease. Renal biopsies were performed in 24 patients. Twelve (50.0%) of the biopsies showed hypertensive changes and 14 (58.3%) mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis type 1, with deposition of IgM and C3 complement.
Methamphetamine use is associated with severe hypertension, mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis and CKD.

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