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    Other Names:

    Bolivian Coca, Coca de Java, Coca Péruvienne, Cocaine Plant, Erythroxylum coca, Erythroxylum novogranatense, Gu Ko Yi, Health Inca Tea, Huanuco Coca, Inca Health Tea, Inca Tea, Java Coca, Mate-de-Coca, Mate de Coca, Peruvian Coca, Spadic, Thé In...
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    COCA Overview
    COCA Uses
    COCA Side Effects
    COCA Interactions
    COCA Dosing
    COCA Overview Information

    Coca is a plant. It is the source of cocaine, which is an illegal drug that is used nasally, injected, or smoked for mind-altering effects. Cocaine is also an FDA-approved Schedule C-II drug. This means cocaine can be prescribed by a healthcare provider, but the process is strictly regulated. The worry about cocaine is that it is unsafe and highly addictive.

    Despite safety concerns and illegality, the coca leaf is used to make medicine.

    People chew coca leaves to relieve hunger and fatigue and to enhance physical performance.

    Coca extracts are used for stimulating stomach function, causing sedation, and treating asthma, colds, and other ailments.

    Coca tea is used for altitude sickness in the Peruvian Andes and elsewhere.

    A form of cocaine that can be applied to the skin is available by prescription. It is used to numb eye, nose, and throat pain; and to narrow blood vessels.

    In manufacturing, coca extract with the cocaine removed is used to flavor cola drinks and food products.

    How does it work?

    The cocaine found in coca can cause an increase in brain activity and have numbing (anesthetic) effects. Cocaine is highly addictive.

    COCA Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

    Likely Ineffective for:

    • Improving physical performance. Coca increases heart rate, but doesn’t seem to improve heart output or other bodily responses to physical exercise.

    Insufficient Evidence for:

    • Cocaine dependence. Early research suggests that chewing coca leaf might improve mental health in people addicted to cocaine.
    • Stimulation of stomach function.
    • Asthma.
    • Colds.
    • Altitude sickness.
    • Other conditions.
    More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of coca for these uses.

    COCA Side Effects & Safety

    Coca leaf without the cocaine (decocainized) is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in normal food amounts. The cocaine contained in the coca leaf is LIKELY SAFE for use on the eye or skin when prescribed and monitored by a medical professional.

    Cocaine is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth for medicinal uses and UNSAFE when taken by mouth or inhaled for recreational uses. Cocaine is illegal and can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, excitement, migraine headaches, seizures, strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, high blood pressure, and liver and kidney failure.

    As little as 1/4 of a teaspoon of cocaine can be deadly. Cocaine is highly addictive.

    Special Precautions & Warnings:

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to inhale coca or take it by mouth if you are pregnant. The cocaine in coca might cause a miscarriage or birth defects. Coca use is also associated with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

    It’s also UNSAFE to inhale coca or take it by mouth if you are breast-feeding. Cocaine is excreted into breast milk, and harmful effects can occur in infants breast-fed by mothers who were recently exposed to cocaine.

    Asthma: The cocaine in coca can make asthma worse. Don’t use it.

    Heart disease: The cocaine in coca can make heart disease worse. Don’t use it.

    Diabetes: Coca or the coca constituent cocaine might increase blood sugar levels in some people. Coca might affect blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

    High blood pressure (hypertension): Coca or the coca constituent cocaine might increase blood pressure in some people. People prone to high blood pressure should avoid using.

    History of stroke or at risk for stroke: If you have a history of stroke or are at high risk for having a stroke, do not use coca. The cocaine in coca increases the chance of dying from a broken blood vessel in the brain.

    A condition called plasma pseudocholinesterase deficiency (PPD): People with PPD are more likely than others to have seizures and/or die after using cocaine.

    COCA Interactions What is this?

    Major Interaction Do not take this combination

    • Alcohol interacts with COCA

      Coca contains cocaine. Cocaine can affect your thinking. Alcohol can also affect your thinking. Do not take coca if you have been drinking alcohol.

    • Nifedipine interacts with COCA

      Coca contains cocaine. Taking cocaine with nifedipine increases the risk of serious side effects such as seizure.

    COCA Dosing

    The appropriate dose of coca depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for coca. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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    Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

    This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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