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Cocaine intoxication

Intoxication - cocaine

Cocaine is an illegal stimulant drug that affects your central nervous system. Cocaine comes from the coca plant. When used, cocaine causes the brain to release higher than normal amounts of some chemicals. These produce a sense of euphoria, or a "high."

Cocaine intoxication is a condition in which you're not only high from using the drug, but you also have body-wide symptoms that can make you ill and impaired.

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Electrocardiogram (ECG)

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Causes

Cocaine intoxication may be caused by:

Symptoms

Symptoms of cocaine intoxication include:

With higher doses or an overdose, more severe symptoms can occur, including:

Cocaine is often cut (mixed) with other substances. When taken, additional symptoms can occur.

Exams and Tests

If cocaine intoxication is suspected, the health care provider may order the following tests:

Treatment

The provider will measure and monitor the person's vital signs, including temperature, pulse, breathing rate, and blood pressure.

Symptoms will be treated as appropriate. The person may receive:

Long-term treatment requires drug counseling in combination with medical therapy.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outlook depends on the amount of cocaine used and what organs are affected. Permanent damage may occur, which may cause:

Related Information

Toxicology screen
Central nervous system
Cardiovascular
Stroke
Arrhythmias
Substance use
Substance use disorder
Drug use first aid

References

Aronson JK. Cocaine. In: Aronson JK, ed. Meyler's Side Effects of Drugs. 16th ed. Waltham, MA: Elsevier; 2016:492-542.

Rao RB, Hoffman RS, Erickson TB. Cocaine and other sympathomimetics. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 149.

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Review Date: 2/12/2021  

Reviewed By: Jesse Borke, MD, CPE, FAAEM, FACEP, Attending Physician at Kaiser Permanente, Orange County, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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