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Cotinine, whose term in the official IUPAC nomenclature is: (5S) -1-methyl-5- (3-pyridyl) pyrrolidine-2-one is an alkaloid with a brute or molecular formula C10H12N2O.
Cotinine is an alkaloid present in the tobacco plant (Nicotiana tabacum L.) and a metabolite derived from nicotine. Among other things, the name cotinine is an nicotine anagram.
Cotinine, similar to nicotine, binds, activates, and desensitizes the neuronal nicotinic receptors, albeit with a much lower potency. Furthermore, in the course of some scientific experiments it has shown nootropic and antipsychotic effects.
This alkaloid is used to quantify a person’s exposure to active and passive smoke. Cotinine remains in the body for a long time and it is therefore possible to dose it not only in the blood, but also in saliva and urine. Values ​​below 10 ug / L in urine indicate likely passive non-exposure. Values ​​below 50 ug / L are compatible with passive exposure or prolonged abstinence from active smoking. On average, active smokers have urinary concentrations above 300 ug / L.
Cotinine determinations thus provide an objective quantitative measure that is more reliable than smokers’ memories or counting the number of cigarettes smoked per day. Cotinine also allows measurement of exposure to secondary smoke (passive smoking).

Cotinine has an in vivo half-life of approximately 20 hours and is usually detectable up to a period of approximately seven days after the last use of tobacco. The level of cotinine in the blood is also proportional to the amount of exposure to tobacco smoke; therefore it is a good indicator of exposure to tobacco smoke, including secondary (passive) smoking. Additionally, individuals who smoke menthol cigarettes may retain cotinine in the blood for a longer period, since menthol can compete with the enzymatic metabolism of cotinine.
In this sense, the genetic characteristics of smokers (active or passive) can influence; in fact, people of African descent usually have higher blood levels of cotinine than Caucasians, although many variable factors (such as the preference for menthol cigarettes and the duration of the puff) suggest that the explanation for this difference is more complex than the factor alone. gender or ethnicity.
In addition, some smoking cessation programs use nicotine, which results in a positive result in determining the presence of cotinine. For this reason the presence of cotinine is not decisive for the indication of the use of tobacco.
Finally, it should be noted that drug tests can detect cotinine in blood, urine or saliva.
Cotinine was formerly marketed as an antidepressant.

Warning: The information given is not medical advice and may not be accurate. The contents are for illustrative purposes only and do not replace medical advice.

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