Cocaine and its metabolites in the placenta: a systematic review of the literature.

Nadia De Giovanni, Daniela Marchetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


It is clear that cocaine and cocaine metabolites are present in the placenta and may harm the fetus. The results of the experimental manipulation of cocaine exposure are not reported in the literature in a consistent manner. We conducted a systematic review of selected articles that demonstrated the analytical detection of cocaine and its metabolites in the placenta and that were published from January 1, 1956-June 30, 2011 using Medline, Toxline and Scopus databases. The collected data confirm that the placenta does not act as a barrier to fetal exposure, that cocaine quickly crosses the placenta and that one of the essential roles of the placenta is to metabolize cocaine during pregnancy. Our systematic review summarized the results showing that cocaine, benzoylecgonine and norcocaine are stored in the myometrium and the placental membrane and maintain continuous drug delivery to the amniotic fluid (and to the fetus) probably via diffusion
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Cocaine


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