Cocaine Intoxication

Cocaine Intoxication is a topic covered in the Pocket ICU Management.

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Anesthesia Central is an all-in-one web and mobile solution for treating patients before, during, and after surgery. This collection of drug, procedures and test information is derived from Davis’s Drug, MGH Clinical Anesthesia Procedures, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals. Explore these free sample topics:

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First Things First (assess & treat for the following)

  • Assess for life-threatening complications.
    • Hypoxia, altered mental status: airway mgt, O2 supplementation
    • Hypotension, shock: vascular access, IV fluids
    • Arrhythmias: follow ACLS guidelines
    • Status epilepticus: IV benzodiazepines, correct structural defects
    • Severe hyperthermia: initiate cooling
  • Control agitation w/ benzodiazepines IV/IM.
  • Focused evaluation for specific complaints


  • Available forms of cocaine
    • Cocaine hydrochloride: snorted, injected or ingested
    • Crack cocaine (alkaloid form): inhaled
  • Route of administration determines intensity & duration of action.
    • Inhalation has fastest onset & shortest duration.
    • Intranasal has slower onset, longer duration.
  • Major pathophysiologic effects
    • Increases release of catecholamines: primarily norepinephrine, also dopamine & serotonin
    • Blocks reuptake of these catecholamines at preganglionic neurons
    • Catecholamines lead to profound sympathomimetic effects.
    • Local anesthetic effect due to blockade of fast sodium channels

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Last updated: April 14, 2010