The enzymes involved in the metabolism of cocaine: A new pharmacological approach for the treatment of cocaine overdose toxicity

Alberto Salazar-Juárez , Susana Barbosa-Méndez , Noe Jurado , Benito Antón



Introduction. New therapeutic strategies against cocaine overdose toxicity have been developed. These new approaches are based on the design and synthesis of proteins involved in the destruction of cocaine before it has a chance to penetrate nerve tissue.

Objective. To review the progress in the effect of the increase in the catalytic activity of BChE and hCE enzymes produced for the treatment of patients in cocaine overdose toxicity conditions in order to determine the advantages and disadvantages of its use. Its potential future use in patients channeled by a cocaine overdose is also explored.

Method. A bibliographic search was conducted using PubMed; descriptors were “cocaine”, “hydrolase”, “esterase” and “butyrylcholinesterase”. 220 papers were obtained and 126 papers were used for these review.

Results. The BChE, COCH and Coce bacterial enzymes significantly decrease the levels of cocaine in blood and brain and thereby attenuate the effects of a cocaine overdose.

Discussion and conclusion. The results obtained in animal models suggest the potential therapeutic use of these enzymes in humans to rapidly inactivate cocaine and develop treatments to stop deaths associated with cocaine overdose intoxication. These enzymatic approaches offer a novel therapeutic application to treat cocaine overdose.


Addiction; cocaine; enzymes and pharmacotherapy