Metabolism of cocaine in man

Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1978 May;23(5):547-52. doi: 10.1002/cpt1978235547.


Following ingestion of [N-14CH3]cocaine (10 mg, 2.3 muCi) by 2 healthy subjects, breath, saliva, serum, and urine samples were collected serially. Labeled CO2 production was monitored as a measure of N-demethylation of cocaine. The cumulative excretion of 14CO2 in 5 hr was 2.4% and 6.2% of the administered dose with half-lives of 2.3 and 1.4 hr, respectively. The greater N-demethylation was found in a subject with lower plasma cholinesterase activity. Radioactivity excreted in 0 to 28 hr urine reached 65% to 75% of the dose. Ecgonine methyl ester, a product of cocaine hydrolysis by plasma cholinesterase, was identified as a major metabolite in the urine of both subjects and accounted for 32% to 49% of the urinary metabolites.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aminopyrine / metabolism
  • Breath Tests
  • Carbon Dioxide / analysis
  • Cocaine / metabolism*
  • Dealkylation
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Aminopyrine
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Cocaine