Drugs of abuse, particularly alcohol, have adverse effects on various aspects of immunity and susceptibility to infectious diseases. (3 35) Fetal alcohol exposure can permanently affect endocrine and immune responses. Alcohol inhibits production of proinflammatory cytokines, reduces NK cell activity and suppresses B- and T-cell immunity. Alcoholics are infection prone. Although HIV-seronegative heroin addicts generally have reduced immune functions, persons maintained on methadone in a state of steady tolerance have normal immunity. Marijuana suppresses production of a- and b-interferon and the cytolytic activity of macrophages. Other psychoative drugs often have immune effects. Benzodiazepines antagonize suppression of NK cell activity by corticotrophin-releasing factor and thus may modify stress effects on immunity/36)
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