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n. an alkaloid that is derived from the leaves of the coca plant (Erythroxylon coca) or prepared synthetically and is sometimes used as a local anaesthetic applied to mucous membranes in ear, nose, and throat surgery. It constricts the small blood vessels at the site of application and therefore need not be given with adrenaline. Since it causes feelings of exhilaration and may lead to psychological dependence, cocaine has largely been replaced by safer anaesthetics.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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