Difference Between Cocaine and Amphetamine
Cocaine vs. Amphetamine
Cocaine and amphetamine are two different drug forms, with varying specific mechanisms of action. They are perhaps viewed with much confusion, because their general effects on the user are somewhat similar.
Firstly, cocaine is crystal-like in form or appearance, and is derived from the coca plant. It acts mainly to stimulate the CNS, or Central Nervous System, thereby causing a feeling of elation or euphoria. It can also act as a drug to suppress one’s appetite. It is one of those drugs that are known to have addictive properties. This is attributed to how greatly it affects the mesolimbic system.
It is ironic to note that cocaine in itself is an illegal drug. Its distribution and sale, especially for non medical or non government authorized purposes, is purely prohibited. However, it is also a known fact that cocaine is a drug that is widely used among many social classes and races throughout the world.
Amphetamine, like cocaine, is a drug that can induce euphoria. It increases one’s alertness and initial concentration by lessening the levels of fatigue. This increased wakefulness can however reduce one’s appetite. Because of this nature, the drug has been a popular fad for those who wish to lose weight and control their food cravings. Otherwise known as ‘speed’, amphetamine stimulates the nervous system, particularly the CNS. For medical reasons, it is used for the therapeutic management of ADHD, narcolepsy and severe cases of prolonged fatigue.
Other physical effects of using amphetamine includes: Pupil dilation, skin flushing, dryness of the mouth, headaches, heightened BP, increased heart rate and even erectile dysfunction among men. In more critical scenarios, convulsions may occur, most especially when the drug is taken in high dosages. Continuous drug abuse of such can also lead to heart attacks, which is also seen in cocaine overdose.
In terms of the more in-depth physical mechanism of cocaine, it can bind directly with a DAT1 transporter with greater efficacy than that of amphetamine. It also has a half life of only an hour, whereas amphetamine lasts from 12 to 13 hours.
Amphetamine can be taken in any of the following routes of administration: PO (oral), IV (intravenous), vaporization, rectal, sub-lingual (below the tongue) and also insufflation. Cocaine can be taken topically aside from PO, insufflation and intravenously.
Although both amphetamine and cocaine stimulates the CNS to cause euphoria, and possibly decrease appetite, these drugs differ in the following aspects:
1. Cocaine has greater efficacy than amphetamine.
2. Cocaine can be taken topically, unlike amphetamine.
3. Amphetamine has a longer half life compared to cocaine.
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