chapter  31
12 Pages

Cocaine

WithJames L. Schardein, Orest T. Macina

Cocaine is an alkaloid derived from the coca plant, Erythroxylum coca, indigenous to Peru and Bolivia, its properties recognized for at least 5000 years. It is limited therapeutically as a local anesthetic, but abuse of the chemical is a much greater concern based on its recreational use as a central nervous system stimulant providing euphoria. For therapeutic uses, cocaine has a pregnancy category of C. In animals, cocaine has not been studied in the laboratory by topical application, the route for its therapeutic use in humans. In humans, cocaine produces adverse outcomes on development when abused during pregnancy. Illicitly obtained cocaine also varies greatly in purity, and it is commonly adulterated; thus, effects produced may vary from study to study depending on the chemical composition of cocaine, with resulting study conclusions quite variable. Cocaine is an average-sized human developmental toxicant. It is hydrophobic and of average polarity. Cocaine is a hydrogen bond acceptor.