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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 8408479, 14 pages
Review Article

Cardiovascular and Hepatic Toxicity of Cocaine: Potential Beneficial Effects of Modulators of Oxidative Stress

1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology “Vittorio Erspamer”, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
2Drug Addiction and Clinical Pharmacology Unit, University Hospital Umberto I, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
3Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC), School of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RH, UK

Received 7 August 2015; Revised 19 October 2015; Accepted 1 November 2015

Academic Editor: José L. Quiles

Copyright © 2016 Manuela Graziani et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Oxidative stress (OS) is thought to play an important role in the pharmacological and toxic effects of various drugs of abuse. Herein we review the literature on the mechanisms responsible for the cardiovascular and hepatic toxicity of cocaine with special focus on OS-related mechanisms. We also review the preclinical and clinical literature concerning the putative therapeutic effects of OS modulators (such as N-acetylcysteine, superoxide dismutase mimetics, nitroxides and nitrones, NADPH oxidase inhibitors, xanthine oxidase inhibitors, and mitochondriotropic antioxidants) for the treatment of cocaine toxicity. We conclude that available OS modulators do not appear to have clinical efficacy.