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Can You Get An Allergic Reaction To Cocaine

Have you or someone you love been engaging in cocaine use and experiencing a strange reaction? And despite having the reaction, are you unable to stop seeking out cocaine?

You are not alone. Allergies are one of the most common medical conditions in the United States, with 31.8% of adults being diagnosed in 2021. But what happens when you are allergic to an illicit substance like cocaine?

allergic reaction to cocaine clean recovery

At Clean Recovery Centers, we believe in educating the public on all topics surrounding substance use and mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is able to diagnose and treat mental health conditions at any phase of treatment as we have seen the prevalence in those with a cocaine use disorder. Today, we are answering the question – “Can you get an allergic reaction to cocaine?”

allergic reaction to cocaineIs Experiencing an Allergic Reaction to Cocaine Possible?

An allergy is an immune response triggered by the body to a substance it views as harmful – called an allergen. These substances can be inhaled, ingested, touched, or injected to cause an allergic reaction. Common allergies include peanuts, pollen, and penicillin, but numerous others exist in the world. Allergies can develop at any point in life, even if you have never had them before. It is also possible to outgrow certain allergies.

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant which is native to South America. When ingested, it produces effects of euphoria, pleasure, and a burst of energy, all common side effects of stimulants. However, it is possible to be allergic to cocaine and experience a reaction. The severity of the reaction can vary from person to person, and the allergy can be triggered by cocaine itself or a substance that has been added to the cocaine. For example, sometimes flour is used in cutting cocaine, which could trigger an allergic reaction in those who cannot ingest gluten.

How Common Are Cocaine Allergies?

There is not a surefire method in testing for cocaine allergies, and in many cases, cocaine allergies go undiagnosed. In one study, those with severe sensitivities to local anesthesia were tested using a prick test. Both cocaine extract and coca tea were used for the test, and many patients saw sensitivity results to both. This indicates that cocaine allergies do exist and often occur in those already sensitive to local anesthetics.

Allergies to other substances are fairly common throughout the United States and can trigger a reaction to cocaine. Talc, flour, and other cutting agents can cause reactions that could be severe. One of the most common cutting agents in cocaine is levamisole, a medication that was used as a dewormer in livestock. In humans, it causes rashes triggered by vasculitis. The rash typically begins within a few hours to a few days after ingesting cocaine and can mimic an allergic reaction rash. Areas affected are often the extremities, neck, and ears. Medical treatment is necessary to clear the rash.

Signs of a Cocaine Allergy

One of the biggest signs that you may have a cocaine allergy is experiencing symptoms after each use. Even if the symptoms are mild and don’t cause too much of a bother, a cocaine allergy can still be present and turn severe at any point.

Symptoms of an Allergic Reaction to Cocaine

As with many allergies, an allergic reaction to cocaine can range from mild to severe. This can also vary if you are allergic to other substances in the cocaine, which may cause symptoms to worsen. In severe cases, medical attention will need to be sought as they can become life-threatening.

Mild Symptoms

With mild cocaine allergies, symptoms tend to be uncomfortable but not serious. Common symptoms include:

  • Rashes and hives that cause itching
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Nausea and stomach discomfort

These symptoms typically go away within a few hours to a couple of days. While antihistamines can help treat allergy symptoms, mixing them with cocaine can lessen the effects of the cocaine. This can lead to the person taking more, thus continuing the cycle of experiencing allergy symptoms.

It is important to note that those who snort cocaine also experience runny nose and eyes after use. This does not necessarily mean an allergy is present as cocaine irritates the lining of the nasal passageways. The more cocaine is snorted, the more nasal discomfort will ensue. If nasal discharge is not accompanied by hives or itching, chances are it is not an allergy.

Severe Symptoms

In severe cases of cocaine allergies, a condition known as anaphylaxis can occur. Anaphylaxis is a very serious health concern as it causes the throat to swell and close, completely hindering breathing. The only way to reverse anaphylaxis is with epinephrine, the same medicine found in EpiPens. However, cocaine is a stimulant and increases heart rate, similar to epinephrine. Pairing the two together could lead to heart complications and even a heart attack.

It is always best to seek medical attention after giving epinephrine, especially in the case of a severe cocaine allergic reaction.

What to Do in the Event of an Allergic Reaction to Cocaine

Experiencing mild allergy symptoms after cocaine use does not necessarily warrant a trip to the doctor. If symptoms continue for more than a couple of days after the last use, you will want to get checked out and make sure nothing serious is going on.

Allergies do not always resolve on their own, and continuing to engage in cocaine consumption while experiencing reactions can be dangerous. Antihistamines can help treat mild symptoms but should not be taken at the same time as cocaine. They can cancel out the effects of the cocaine, causing the person to take more and possibly experience a cocaine overdose. If an overdose is ever suspected, seek medical attention immediately.

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency and should be treated as such. If you see signs that breathing is becoming impaired, call for help immediately. Even if epinephrine was administered and the person feels better, it is still best to see a medical professional to ensure there is nothing else going on within the body. As we mentioned above, the heart experiences stress from cocaine use, and the added stress of epinephrine can cause serious harm or damage to the organ.

Getting Help for Cocaine Use Disorder in Tampa, FL

No one likes experiencing allergies, but continuing cocaine use despite experiencing hives or itching can cause further harm. The good news is there is help available to help you leave cocaine behind and rediscover your passion for life. Cocaine addiction treatment can help you identify the root causes of your cocaine use disorder and teach you how to manage triggers. Mental health often plays a large role in cocaine use disorder, and treatment will be able to address both at the same time. Once you develop coping skills and gain knowledge about yourself, you will be ready to begin your life in a successful and lasting recovery.

If you or someone you love is managing a cocaine use disorder, help is here right now. Clean Recovery Centers utilizes a unique, three-phase approach to treatment unlike any in the Suncoast area. Each of our locations has housing options available so there is never a worry of where you will be staying. We also provide nutritional counseling to promote a healthy lifestyle in recovery. Call us today at (888) 330-2532 to learn more about our program offerings.

Get clean. Live clean. Stay clean.

FAQs About Cocaine Allergies

How long after taking cocaine can you have an allergic reaction?

Allergic reactions tend to occur quickly, often within a few hours after taking cocaine. Anaphylaxis can happen faster, usually within a few minutes after taking cocaine if the allergy is severe. Mild reactions typically resolve in a day or two.

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