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July 1965

Sense of Smell Alterations by Cocaine and Tetracaine

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;82(1):53-55. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00760010055013

THE EFFECT of cocaine on the sense of smell in man was studied by Zwaardemaker.6 He blew a powder of amylum triticin containing 10% and 20% murias cocaini (cocaine chloride) into the upper part of the nasal cavity in a few test persons, and from the experiments Zwaardemaker concluded that (1) cocaine in sufficient amount gives a reversible anosmia; (2) the anosmia is preceded by a hyperosmia; (3) the anosmia is the same for several smell qualities.

It has not been possible to find experiences confirming Zwaardemaker's statements.

With a special technique (Zilstorff-Pedersen4) we have examined the influence of acetylcholine-like substances, menthol and strychnine, on olfactory receptors in man.3 Acetylcholine hydrochloride and acetyl-beta-methylcholine hydrochloride 0.1μgm/ml-10μgm/ml) decreased the smell threshold on the tested side by 21%-50% as did menthol (4μgm/ml). (Fig 1). Strychnine nitrate (1-10 mg/ml) decreased the threshold in all experiments, but after an initial increase in threshold

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