Side Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine is a crystalline tropane organic compound which is obtained from the coca plant leaves. It is an appetite suppressant, a topical anesthetic as well as a stimulant. Cocaine is addictive as it affects mesolimbic reward pathway. This organic compound travels through blood vessels and affects the whole body. It causes harm to lungs, blood vessels, heart and brain; and more importantly it may even cause sudden death.

How long cocaine stays in your system depends on a lot of factors like age, amount of cocaine taken, time duration, etc.

Side Effects of Cocaine


Cocaine is not good for heart as it increases blood pressure and heart rate while constricting the arteries appending blood to the heart. This may cause heart attack even in young people who does not carry a heart problem. This drug can also spark off a deadly abnormal heart rate which is known as arrhythmia. Other complications include cardiomyopathy or the heart muscle diseases and dissection of aortic walls.


Cocaine can constringe blood vessels in the brain that results in strokes. Like heart disease, this may also affect young people even if they do not carry general risk factors for strokes. It also causes seizures and may lead to violent and bizarre behavior.

Lungs and respiratory system - Huffing cocaine cause damage to sinuses and nose. Regular use can result into a small line of holes in the nasal region. Smoking crack cocaine damages the lungs. At times, it may even cause permanent lung damage.

Gastrointestinal tract

Cocaine compresses blood vessels supplying the bowel that results in oxygen famishment. This can cause ulcers and even cause a small line of holes in intestines or stomach.


Cocaine can cause sudden kidney failure through rhabdomyolysis. If people with high blood pressure use cocaine regularly, it can spark off long term kidney damage triggered by high blood pressure.

Sexual function

Even though cocaine is known to be aphrodisiacal, yet habitual use of this drug can vitiate sexual function both in men and women. In men, the use of this drug causes impaired or delayed ejaculation. This drug may damage reproductive organ in both men and women and also cause infertility.


Pregnant women, who uses cocaine, carries the risk of miscarriage in the early months of her pregnancy. If it is used later during pregnancy, this may trigger premature labor. Babies born to cocaine-abusing mothers have LBW (low birth weight) as well as other serious health problems. Babies can also endure from mental retardation, hearing and visual impairment and cerebral palsy.

Skin condition

Cocaine causes skin ulcers and open sores and also triggers rapid death of skin tissues. If this drug is injected via injections; it may cause skin infections, such as – abscesses and cellulitis. This drug causes formication and dermatillomania if consumed.

Long term cocaine use breeds a hallucination disorder where people feel something crawling under the skin. This time, scratching skin causes bleeding, lesions and infection. Other side effects include loss of appetite, increased rate of breathing, disturbed sleep patterns, severe depression, intense drug craving, severe tooth decay, enamel loss, malnutrition, unusual muscle weakness and weight loss.

Author: Joe

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