Health Guide
Drug Guide

Anesthetic, local (Topical application route)

Brand Names:

Dosage Forms:

Uses of This Medicine:

This medicine belongs to a group of medicines known as topical local anesthetics. Topical anesthetics are used to relieve pain and itching caused by conditions such as sunburn or other minor burns, insect bites or stings, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and minor cuts and scratches.

Topical anesthetics deaden the nerve endings in the skin. They do not cause unconsciousness as do general anesthetics used for surgery.

Most topical anesthetics are available without a prescription; however, your doctor may have special instructions on the proper use and dose for your medical problem.

Before Using This Medicine:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to medicines in this group or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Children

Benzocaine may be absorbed through the skin of young children and cause unwanted effects. There is no specific information comparing use of other topical anesthetics in children with use in other age groups, but it is possible that they may also cause unwanted effects in young children. Check with your doctor before using any product that contains a topical anesthetic for a child younger than 2 years of age.

Older adults

Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of topical anesthetics in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Pregnancy

Although studies on effects in pregnancy have not been done in humans, topical anesthetics have not been reported to cause problems in humans. Lidocaine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies. Other topical anesthetics have not been studied in animals.

Breast-feeding

Topical anesthetics have not been reported to cause problems in nursing babies.

Other medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are taking any of these medicines, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.

Using medicines in this class with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.

Other interactions

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other medical problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of medicines in this class. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

Proper Use of This Medicine:

For safe and effective use of this medicine:

This medicine should be used only for problems being treated by your doctor or conditions listed in the package directions. Check with your doctor before using it for other problems, especially if you think that an infection may be present. This medicine should not be used to treat certain kinds of skin infections or serious problems, such as severe burns.

Read the package label very carefully to see if the product contains any alcohol. Alcohol is flammable and can catch on fire. Do not use any product containing alcohol near a fire or open flame, or while smoking. Also, do not smoke after applying one of these products until it has completely dried.

If you are using this medicine on your face, be very careful not to get it in your eyes, mouth, or nose. If you are using an aerosol or spray form of this medicine, do not spray it directly on your face. Instead, use your hand or an applicator (for example, a sterile gauze pad or a cotton swab) to apply the medicine.

For patients using butamben:

To use lidocaine film-forming gel (e.g., DermaFlex):

Dosing

The dose medicines in this class will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of these medicines. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

Missed dose

If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Keep out of the reach of children.

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Precautions While Using This Medicine:

After applying this medicine to the skin of a child, watch the child carefully to make sure that he or she does not get any of the medicine into his or her mouth. Topical anesthetics can cause serious side effects, especially in children, if any of the medicine gets into the mouth or is swallowed.

Side Effects of This Medicine:

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Less common
Large swellings that look like hives on the skin or in the mouth or throat
Symptoms of too much medicine being absorbed by the body
(very rare)
Blurred or double vision
confusion
convulsions (seizures)
dizziness or lightheadedness
drowsiness
feeling hot, cold, or numb
headache
increased sweating
ringing or buzzing in the ears
shivering or trembling
slow or irregular heartbeat
troubled breathing
unusual anxiety, excitement, nervousness, or restlessness
unusual paleness
unusual tiredness or weakness

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

Burning, stinging, or tenderness not present before treatment
skin rash, redness, itching, or hives

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Last Updated: 10/12/2016

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