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Ther Drug Monit. 1996 Aug;18(4):460-4.

Alcohol plus cocaine: the whole is more than the sum of its parts.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Cocaethylene, an active metabolite that arises through hepatic transesterification of cocaine when cocaine and ethanol are used together, shares many neurochemical and pharmacological properties with cocaine. Cocaethylene is similar to cocaine in its properties as an indirect dopamine agonist, and human subjects cannot distinguish its effects from those of cocaine. Cocaethylene, and especially its isopropyl analog, are more selective indirect dopamine agonists than cocaine, with relatively weak potency at the serotonin transporter. Cocaethylene may contribute to the manifestations and consequences of combined cocaine and ethanol use, although its relative importance remains unclear.

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