Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant most frequently used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitationMedical Uses of Cocaine Cocaine is an alkaloid derivative refined from coca leaves. Coca leaves grow on Erythroxylum Coca, a plant commonly found in South America. There are different ways that medical professionals may use cocaine during procedures or in the treatment of certain conditions. Anesthetic Cocaine is an excellent topical anesthetic. In fact, The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery considers cocaine to be a valuable anesthetic and vasoconstricting agent when used as part of the treatment of a patient by a physician. In fact, the group states that "no other single drug combines the anesthetic and vasoconstricting properties of cocaine." 1 The fact that cocaine has anesthetic properties is unsurprising since cocaine and lidocaine are chemical cousins, and lidocaine is used as an anesthetic during dental procedures.2 Cocaine is a particularly effective local anesthetic that works by blocking nerve impulses. Specifically, by blocking norepinephrine uptake, cocaine causes vasoconstriction and anesthesia. Other Medical Uses Cocaine is also used during procedures involving the upper respiratory tract. In addition to anesthesia and vasoconstriction of the upper respiratory tract, cocaine also shrinks the mucosa or mucous membranes.3 Cocaine used during medical procedures comes in the form of a topical solution. This cocaine hydrochloride solution comes in three different concentrations: 1%, 4%, or 10%.
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