• Anne P. Daamen
  • Renske Penning
  • Tibor Brunt
  • Joris C. VersterEmail author


After cannabis, cocaine is the most commonly used illicit drug in Europe. An estimated 13 million Europeans have used it at least once in their lifetime. Also, in the USA cocaine is one of the most prevalent illicit drugs, with an annual prevalence of seven million people. Cocaine is a well-known addictive stimulant drug and scientific literature concerning its various pharmacological properties dates back to the nineteenth century. This chapter describes the mechanism of action of cocaine, how addiction and tolerance develop, and the physiological and psychological risks of cocaine use. Finally, pharmacotherapy and psychosocial interventions available to treat cocaine dependence are discussed. It is concluded that none of these interventions have been proven sufficiently effective to reduce craving and maintain abstinence in all patients.


Ventral Tegmental Area Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome Cocaine Abuse Cocaine User Cocaine Dependence 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne P. Daamen
    • 1
  • Renske Penning
    • 1
  • Tibor Brunt
    • 2
  • Joris C. Verster
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Pharmacology, Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical SciencesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Trimbos InstituteUtrechtThe Netherlands

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