Intravenous drug user

Last revised by Dr Ammar Haouimi on 25 Apr 2022

Intravenous drug users (IVDU) (also known as intravenous drug abusers (IVDA)) are patients who self-inject recreational drugs, most commonly heroin, although many other agents are frequently injected, including cocaine, prescription opioids and methamphetamine. 


Intravenous drug users form part of a larger population of persons who use drugs (PWUD) 3.

Clinical presentation

Intravenous drug users may present due to a variety of complications 4:

Intravenous drug users are also at increased risk of disease due to often having other risk factors for disease, including long term tobacco use, chronic alcohol excess, malnutrition, poor living conditions, etc. e.g. pneumonia 2.

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