Issue: 2009 > April > review

The emergency care of cocaine intoxications

M.P. Vroegop, E.J. Franssen, P.H.J. van der Voort, T.N.A. van den Berg, RJ. Langeweg, C. Kramers


Cocaine is frequently used, especially among adolescents and by men between the age of 25 and 44. Many of them are able to use cocaine in normal day-to-day life, without any problems. Reduced prices of cocaine and other recreational drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy) and gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) has led to an increased incidence of intoxications with these drugs. Since the production of cocaine is illegal, it may be impure and mixtures with other drugs such as atropine may occur. The treatment of patients with an acute cocaine intoxication can be complicated. Combination of cocaine with other drugs results in clinical pictures which are difficult to discriminate and that may have important consequences for treatment.