Lidocaine potentiation of cocaine toxicity

Robert W. Derlet, Timothy E Albertson, R. Steven Tharratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Study hypothesis: The toxic effects of cocaine are enhanced in the presence of lidocaine. Study population: Male Sprague-Dawley rats weighing 200 to 300 g. Methods: Animals received intraperitoneal injections of cocaine (10, 20, 35, or 50 mg/kg), lidocaine (30 or 40 mg/kg), or a combination of all doses of cocaine given simultaneously with 30 or 40 mg/kg lidocaine. The incidence and time to seizure and death were recorded in these groups and compared by χ2 and analysis of variance analyses, respectively. Results: At doses of 30 or 40 mg/kg, lidocaine does not induce seizures or death. The effect of simultaneous injection of both cocaine and lidocaine was to dramatically increase the incidence of both seizures and death over that of cocaine alone. The incidence of seizures in animals receiving 35 mg/kg cocaine alone was 10%; this increased to 50% and 80% with the addition of 30 and 40 mg/kg lidocaine, respectively (P ≤ .05; P ≤ .01). Death did not occur in animals receiving 35 mg/kg cocaine alone; the addition of 30 and 40 mg/kg lidocaine resulted in death in 30% and 60% of animals, respectively (P ≤ .01 each group). Similarly, in rats receiving 50 mg/kg cocaine, the incidence of death increased from 0% to 60% and 80% with 30 and 40 mg/kg lidocaine, respectively (P ≤ .01). Conclusion: In the rat, overall toxicity of cocaine is significantly increased with simultaneous exposure to lidocaine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-138
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1991


  • cocaine
  • cocaine toxicity
  • toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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