Medical Definition of Cocaine

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/27/2018

Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive substance formerly used as an anesthetic. Safer anesthetics than cocaine were developed in the 20th century, although it is still used as an injectable anesthetic by some dentists. Synthetic alternatives, such as procaine, are used far more widely. Tragically, cocaine is a highly addictive and destructive street drug.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018