cocaine hydrochloride

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

GENERIC NAME: cocaine hydrochloride


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Cocaine is a naturally occurring chemical found in the leaves of Erythroxylum coca or coca plant, which is native to South America. Coca leaves have been used and abused for hundreds of years. Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that directly affects the nervous system, including the brain. Effects of cocaine include short-term euphoria, energy, talkativeness, and it may cause dangerous increases in heart rate and blood pressure.

Cocaine acts as a local anesthetic by blocking conduction of nerve impulses. Topical preparations of cocaine hydrochloride are applied to the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat prior to certain surgical procedures as a local anesthetic to numb the area. Numbing the surrounding area(s) allows certain types of surgical procedures without causing pain or discomfort to the patient. Although cocaine works very well to provide local aesthetic effects, the risk for abuse and severe local vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels) prevents its widespread clinical use. Cocaine is a schedule II controlled substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse. However, cocaine can be prescribed by a doctor to be used as a local anesthetic in certain cases of eye, ear, or throat surgeries.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Cocaine is used as a local anesthetic prior to surgical procedures involving the oral, laryngeal, or nasal cavities.

SIDE EFFECTS: Common side effects of cocaine include:

  • dizziness,
  • nervousness,
  • restlessness,
  • nausea, and
  • unusual feelings of well-being.

Serious side effects may include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/1/2015
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