How Cocaine Affects Beta Blockers

When a person mixes cocaine with beta blockers, it can have significant health risks.

How Cocaine Affects Beta Blockers

Cocaine is a stimulant, acting to speed up the cardiovascular system. Sometimes, cocaine can cause the heart to beat irregularly, resulting in cardiovascular distress, heart attack or even heart failure.

Beta blockers essentially block adrenaline. Beta blockers slow the heart and lower blood pressure, which is nearly the opposite of cocaine.

People who are prescribed beta blockers are predisposed to concerning heart issues. An individual who has experienced a heart attack is nearly always prescribed a beta blocker and should never use cocaine.

Mixing Cocaine And Beta Blockers

Cocaine causes blood vessels to constrict. This lowers oxygen level availability and can result in tissue damage. The heart, like other organs, needs oxygen to function, and lowering oxygen levels can result in heart attack or even death .

Beta blockers open up blood vessels, when taken as prescribed and without other drugs. Beta blockers taken with cocaine can have practically an opposite effect.

When taken with cocaine, beta blockers can further constrict blood vessels. Combining beta blockers and cocaine can lead to even less oxygen being available in the body and extremely high blood pressure.

Cocaine use can reduce the effectiveness of beta blockers. In some cases, beta blockers can actually make the cardiovascular effects of cocaine worse.

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Cocaine And Beta Blockers Combining Effects

Because cocaine and beta blockers have seemingly opposite effects, some people may take beta blockers with cocaine to attempt to manage their cocaine use, or ease the person off cocaine. This can be extremely dangerous, there is no reason to take cocaine with a beta blocker.

The side effects of combining beta blockers and cocaine are often silent. Vasospasms (blood vessel constriction) may cause chest pain, but it is common to have no noticeable symptoms. Vasospasms may result in tissue damage, heart problems, stroke or death.

Beta blockers have also made cocaine symptoms worsening, which is the opposite of what happens when they are taken on their own. Causing a spike in blood pressure and stressing the cardiovascular system can cause problems breathing, pain, headaches, and confusion.

Beta blockers are not able to protect the cardiovascular system when taken with cocaine, and may actually put more strain on the heart and the rest of the system when both are used.

It is never advised to use a beta blocker to ease or decrease the heart symptoms associated with cocaine use. Even hospitals abandoned using a beta blocker on ER patients who were experiencing cocaine induced cardiovascular problems.

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Treatment For Cocaine Addiction Without Beta Blockers

Substance abuse treatment is available for individuals struggling with cocaine addiction. Attempting to stop using cocaine at home, using medications like beta blockers, is not advised.

Instead, seeking treatment at a facility that is equipped with a detoxification program that can monitor and treat both withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring problems can be wonderful first step towards a sober life.

During detox, a treatment plan is developed to outline the appropriate level of care for the individual, including substance abuse treatment, medical care, and relapse prevention.

Reach out to our staff today to start the journey into a drug free, healthy life.

American Journal of Cardiology - https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(17)31694-6/abstract

American Journal of Medicine - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002934318311719

Emergency Medical Journal - https://emj.bmj.com/content/35/9/559.abstract

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