Which drug interactions increase the severity of cocaine toxicity?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020
  • Author: Lynn Barkley Burnett, MD, EdD, JD; Chief Editor: Sage W Wiener, MD  more...
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The risk of severe effects is increased when cocaine is combined with drugs such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), alpha-methyldopa, and reserpine. These drugs alter the metabolism of epinephrine and norepinephrine, potentiating their effects and, in the presence of cocaine, inducing an adrenergic crisis. Serotonin syndrome may result when serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac), are taken concurrently with sympathomimetics.

Illicit drugs are frequently admixed with additional chemicals either to increase the apparent quantity of the street drug or to enhance its effect. For example, 8-20% of stimulants available on the street contain cocaine and methamphetamine hydrochloride.

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