Interactions Between Cocaine and Beta Blockers

What are the potential interactions and history between cocaine and beta blockers? The following provides information about what beta blockers are, and the relationship between cocaine and beta blockers, including interactions and history.

Cocaine and Beta Blockers | Interactions and History
Before looking at the interactions and history of cocaine and beta blockers, what are beta blockers?

Beta blockers are also referred to as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, and they can treat many different conditions ranging from migraines to high blood pressure. Beta-blockers stop the impact of epinephrine, which is a hormone more commonly known as adrenaline, and in doing so, they reduce blood pressure.

When you take a beta blocker, it slows your heartbeat and makes it less forceful, which ultimately lowers blood pressure. When you take beta blockers, it also helps improve blood flow by opening vessels.

Some of the most commonly prescribed beta blockers include propranolol, atenolol, and nadolol. Specific conditions they’re prescribed for include irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, chest pain, migraines, tremors, heart attacks and high blood pressure. With blood pressure, beta blockers aren’t usually the first-line medicine, but they are usually given after other options haven’t worked well.

Some of the side effects of beta-blockers that are common include cold hands or feet, weight gain, and fatigue. Less common but still possible side effects include shortness of breath, sleep problems, and depression.

Cocaine is an addictive, illegal stimulant drug derived from the coca leaves of a plant native to South America. In the early 1900s cocaine was often an ingredient found in various medicines and tonics and was included in the first formulations of Coca-Cola. It was also used during surgery, but over time research came to light showing it is very addictive and can alter the brain of the user over time.

Now, it’s a schedule II drug and when it’s taken it affects the dopamine system in the brain.

Some of the physiological effects of cocaine include constricted blood vessels, increased body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, and dilated pupils. Some people may also experience tremors and muscle twitches. Many of the complications of using cocaine are related to the cardiovascular system and can include heart attacks, seizures, strokes and changes in heart rhythm.

So what should you know about the interactions and history of cocaine and beta blockers?

There are a few different ways cocaine and beta blockers may have a relationship with one another, but it’s a debated area of discussion.

First, with cocaine one of the primary reasons people visit emergency rooms across the country after using the drug is because of chest pain, which is called myocardial infarction.

There’s also a condition called cocaine toxicity, which can affect not only the cardiovascular system but every system of the body.

Based on the interactions and history of cocaine and beta blockers, the use of propranolol used to be a first-line treatment for cocaine toxicity. However, interactions and history of doing this showed that the use of this beta blocker had adverse side effects and led to an increase in death rates among animals that were being studied.

Newer research with cocaine and beta blockers started showing that these weren’t the best first-line treatment options for cocaine toxicity and it remains a highly debated subject.

There are some side effects of cocaine toxicity that can be made worse by beta blockers, but in certain patients such as those with something called systolic dysfunction, beta blockers may work better.

Researchers now also recommend, based on looking at interactions and history between cocaine and beta blockers, that when people seek treatment for complications of cocaine use they specifically aren’t given beta blockers during the acute phase. During the acute phase, administering beta blockers can actually lead to worsening symptoms, such as increased blood pressure.

Currently, the use of beta blockers for symptoms brought on by cocaine is very limited.

There are also differences in results based on the specific type of beta blocker being used in patients with cocaine-induced symptoms.

Without knowing the interactions and history of cocaine and beta blockers, some people feel as if taking beta blockers on their own, without the advice of a doctor, will allow them to manage the symptoms of cocaine use or coming down from a cocaine high. This is incredibly dangerous and should never be done. There are significant risks associated with combining cocaine and beta blockers.

When looking at the information about interactions and history with cocaine and beta blockers, this class of drugs was at one point considered a first-line treatment for symptoms brought on by the use of cocaine.

That is not the standard now, however, because with cocaine and beta blockers, there is the potential that administering these drugs can make symptoms worse or increase the chances of dying in patients particularly when they’re given during the acute phase of cocaine toxicity.
You should never attempt to manage your own symptoms of cocaine use or cocaine toxicity with the use of beta-blockers either, and should instead seek professional emergency treatment.

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