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Systematic (IUPAC) name
ethyl (2R,3S)-3-benzoyloxy-8-methyl-8-azabicyclo[3.2.1]octane-2-carboxylate
Clinical data
  • C
Moderate to High
Routes of
Produced from ingestion of cocaine and ethanol
Legal status
Legal status
  • Not scheduled specifically, could be prosecuted as an analogue of a scheduled substance.
CAS Number 529-38-4
ATC code none
PubChem CID 65034
ChemSpider 559082
Synonyms benzoylecgonine ethyl ester, ethylbenzoylecgonine,
Chemical data
Formula C18H23NO4
Molar mass 317.38 g/mol[[Script error: No such module "String".]]
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Cocaethylene (ethylbenzoylecgonine) is the ethyl ester of benzoylecgonine. It is structurally similar to cocaine, which is the methyl ester of benzoylecgonine. Cocaethylene is formed in vivo when cocaine and ethyl alcohol have been ingested simultaneously.[1]

Normally cocaine's metabolism produces two major and biologically inactive metabolites, benzoylecogonine and ecgonine methyl ester. Carboxylesterase is an important part of cocaine's metabolism because it acts as the catalyst for the hydrolysis of cocaine which produces the inactive metabolites. If ethanol is present during the metabolism of cocaine, a portion of the cocaine undergoes transesterification with ethanol instead of undergoing hydrolysis with water which results in cocaethylene.[2]

Cocaethylene is a recreational drug with stimulant, euphoriant, anorectic, sympathomimetic and local anesthetic properties. Three monoamine neurotransmitters known as serotonin (5-HT), norepinephrine (NE), and dopamine (DA) play an important role in cocaethylene's action. Cocaethylene increases the level of serotonergic, noradrenergic, and dopaminergic neurotransmission by inhibiting the action of the serotonin transporter (SERT), norepinephrine transporter (NET), and dopamine transporter (DAT) which makes cocaethylene a serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (SNDRI).[Note 1]

Cocaethylene appears to, in most users, produce more euphoria and possess a longer duration of action than cocaine. Some studies suggest that it may be more cardiotoxic than cocaine. Cocaethylene is more potent than cocaine at binding to the dopamine transporter, however it is less potent at binding to the serotonin transporter and norepinephrine transporter.[3][4]



  1. Serotonin-norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors are also known as triple reuptake inhibitor which is abbreviated TRI


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Further reading

See also

  1. S. Casey Laizure, Timothy Mandrell, Naomi M. Gades, and Robert B. Parker (2003). "Cocaethylene Metabolism and Interaction with Cocaine and Ethanol: Role of Carboxylesterases". Drug Metabolism and Disposition. 31 (1): 16–20. 
  2. Cocaethylene metabolism : interaction with cocaine and ethanol Cocaethylene metabolism and interaction with cocaine and ethanol: role of carboxylesterases by Laizure SC, Mandrell T, Gades NM, Parker RB (January 31st, 2003).
  3. Jatlow, Peter; McCance, Elinore F.; Bradberry, Charles W.; Elsworth, John D.; Taylor, Jane R.; Roth, Robert H. (1996). noradrenaline transporter(NAT) 00026&type=abstract "Alcohol plus Cocaine: The Whole Is More Than the Sum of Its Parts" Check |url= value (help). Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. 18 (4): 460–4. 
  4. M. Perez; et al. (1994). "Cocaine and cocaethylene: microdialysis comparison of brain drug levels and effects on dopamine and serotonin". Psychopharmacology (Berl.). 116: 428–32. PMID 8455033.