September 30, 2010

Cocaine As A Medically Approved Medication

Many people are already aware that marijuana is now legal in some states in the US with a medical prescription.

What many people may not realize is that cocaine is also used in medical care, especially in the ENT world.

Cocaine is one of the most potent anesthetic AND vasoconstrictor. These two characteristics make it an ideal medication for use during sinus surgery as well as any nasal procedure where bleeding and pain may be an issue.

Many physicians will use cocaine to help stop nosebleeds (I do not).

Many surgeons use cocaine during sinus surgery to minimize post-operative pain as well as minimize intra-operative bleeding. Use of cocaine also significantly decreases risk of nosebleeds after sinus surgery as well as minimize need for nasal packing.

Cocaine when used for illegal recreational purposes by snorting puts a person at risk for septal perforation due to its vasoconstrictor properties. In essence, the cocaine puts a chemical tourniquet on the blood supply to the septum leading to mucosal necrosis and eventual perforation. Afrin does the same thing, but on a much smaller scale.

Before anybody asks... Cocaine is NEVER prescribed to a patient. It is only ever used in a hospital/office setting and heavily controlled under lock and key. (It is never used in our office.)

Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.


Monica said...

Hi my name is Monica, I am a MRO Assistant in TX, to make sure I understand it is legal for a hospital only in the ENT world to use Cocaine as an anesthetic ? Does this also inlude the dental industry ?

Unknown said...

Yes, dentists use it sometimes, especially for treating gum disease in the office. Army Doctors use it.

Anonymous said...

I can attest to this as valid. I used to suffer from frequent nosebleeds as a child and into my 20s. In 2004 I started using and developed a cocaine problem. Been clean 12 years now and have not had a nosebleed since.

Unknown said...

do you think cocaine would ever be prescribed to people who have problems with their eyes? like people with strabismus or extropias etc. i've had surgery on my eyes because of nerve damaged caused when i was a kid. i feel like people with naturally messed up eyes can feel better about their appearance when they are on cocaine. i've seen someone with a completely lazy eye do cocaine and it returned completely straight until it wore off

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