Cocaine and the nervous system

Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther Toxicol. 1993 Dec;31(12):575-81.


Cocaine abuse today has reached greater heights than it did during the first cocaine epidemic in the late nineteenth century. It is estimated that one out of every four Americans has used cocaine and some six million people in the US use it regularly. Although cocaine affects all systems in the body, the central nervous system (CNS) is the primary target. Cocaine blocks the reuptake of neurotransmitters in the neuronal synapses. Almost all CNS effects of cocaine can be attributed to this mechanism. Euphoria, pharmacological pleasure and intense cocaine craving share basis in this system. The effects of cocaine on other organ systems, in addition to its effects on the CNS, account for the majority of the complications associated with cocaine abuse. In this paper, the CNS effects following cocaine administration and their treatment are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Cocaine / pharmacology
  • Cocaine / poisoning
  • Cocaine / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy


  • Cocaine