Call us today
At American Addiction Centers, we strive to provide the most up-to-date and accurate medical information on the web so our readers can make informed decisions about their healthcare.
Our reviewers are credentialed medical providers specializing in addiction treatment and behavioral healthcare. We follow strict guidelines when fact-checking information and only use credible sources when citing statistics and medical information. Look for the medically reviewed badge ( Medically Reviewed Badge ) on our articles for the most up-to-date and accurate information.
If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate or out-of-date, please let us know at ContactAAC@ContactAAC.com.
In most cases, cocaine does not remain in one’s system very long, especially when it is the only drug taken. The half-life of the drug represents the amount of time it takes for levels of the drug to be reduced by half of their original concentration. The half-life of cocaine is very short. According to one study, the average half-life of cocaine in blood is about 1.5 hours, in saliva is about 1.2 hours, and in urine is about 4.1 hours. Cocaine typically is detectable in urine
for one day after use.
The primary organ responsible for breaking down cocaine in the body is the liver. This process is known as metabolism, where enzymes transform the substance into other compounds called metabolites that are easier to eliminate from the body. The major metabolite for cocaine is called benzoylecgonine, and it is often measured in urine drug testing since it is detectable for a longer period of time after cocaine use than cocaine itself is.
Benzoylecgonine has a half-life of about 12 hours, and it is typically detectable in urine for two to three days after the most recent use of cocaine. However, chronic users of cocaine may have detectable levels of the drug and/or its metabolites in their bodies for longer than average periods due to accumulation of cocaine in the body. A urine drug screen for cocaine and its metabolites may be positive for up to two weeks after last use in heavy users.
General timelines for the detection of cocaine and/or its metabolites in the body can be estimated as:
The length of time that cocaine will remain in a person’s system depends on a number of factors.
All of the above figures are estimates. There are several elements that can influence the amount of time it will take a person’s body to eliminate cocaine. These include:
Concerned about treatment costs? Call now for FREE insurance and payment consultation.Call Now (855) 893-0482
Using cocaine and alcohol at the same time is a dangerous practice that can result in potentially fatal consequences. When cocaine and alcohol are used together, the combination results in a cocaine metabolite that remains in the body for a lengthier period of time.
When cocaine and alcohol are used together, a new metabolite called cocaethylene is formed in the liver and circulates in the body. Cocaethylene has a plasma half-life that is three to five times longer than that of cocaine, and it is linked to liver damage, seizures, and impaired immune system functioning. Cocaethylene has an 18- to 25-fold higher risk of immediate death than cocaine alone.
Furthermore, alcohol may increase the peak concentration of cocaine by about 20%, and cocaethylene presence is linked to higher mean blood alcohol concentrations. These synergistic effects are dangerous and can cause more adverse effects.
There does not appear to be a large body of literature that investigates if the elimination process of cocaine is significantly affected by the presence of other recreational drugs in the system (besides alcohol). However, several drugs of abuse can cause liver damage over time, which it turn may impede the ability of the liver to metabolize other drugs, such as cocaine.
Furthermore, there are medications, supplements, and foods that may speed up or slow down the body’s metabolism of cocaine through their effects on the enzymes CYP3A4 and CYP3A5, which is involved in the metabolism of cocaine. Examples include erythromycin, grapefruit juice, and St. John’s Wort.
Combining other drugs with cocaine may be more dangerous than either alone.