What Are the Benefits of Lidocaine?

Lidocaine, a local anesthetic (numbing medication), belongs to the local anesthetics class of drugs. The medication works by inducing a transient lack of sensation in the area where the patch is applied. As a result, it’s used to both alleviate and prevent pain associated with specific procedures.

Minor burns, insect bites, and scratches are also treated with this medication. Lidocaine may be used for numerous purposes; talk to your pharmacist or doctor if you have any questions.

Common Brand Name(s)

Aspercreme with Lidocaine, AneCream, SOLUPAK, BenGay, CidalEaze, LidaMantle, Xylocaine, Lidosense 4, LMX 4 (one of the strongest lidocaine creams), LMX 5, LMX 4 with Tegaderm, RectaSmoothe, Lidotral, RectiCare, MENTHO-CAINE, Solarcaine, Lidocaine CV, Ela-Max, and Lidopen.

Benefits of Lidocaine

Minor burns (such as sunburn), insect bites, skin abrasions, poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, minor cuts, scratches, and other unpleasant disorders involving mucous membranes are treated with lidocaine. You can also use lidocaine topical to treat hemorrhoid-related rectal discomfort.

Before some medical/dental operations, several lidocaine preparations are used to numb the lining of the mouth or throat. It’s also used to relieve discomfort while your dentures are fitted, and your gums acclimate to them.

Avoid using it to relieve pain from ill-fitting dentures on a long-term basis. Because of the increased risk of severe adverse effects, this product shouldn’t be used to ease teething discomfort in infants and young children. Consult your doctor for further information and other options for treating teething pain.

Before Using This Drug

a mosquito biting the skin

If you’re allergic to any numbing treatment, you should avoid using lidocaine topical.

When numbing drugs were administered without consulting a doctor, fatal overdoses occurred (such as during cosmetic procedures like laser hair removal). Overdosage has also been reported in women who were given a numbing drug before undergoing mammography.

Be aware that numerous cosmetic operations are carried out without the presence of a medical practitioner.

If you’ve ever had any of the following, tell your doctor:

  • liver disease; or
  • if you’re on a heart rhythm medication

If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant, let your doctor know.

If you’re using a lidocaine topical on your chest, keep clear from areas where the baby’s lips could come into contact.

Topical Lidocaine: How to Use It

man touching his teeth because of toothache

Before you start taking lidocaine, read the Patient Information Leaflet if it’s available from your pharmacist each time you get a refill. Inquire with your pharmacist or doctor if you have any concerns.

This medicine is frequently administered by a health care professional before specific dental/medical procedures. If you’re administering this medication yourself, follow your doctor’s or dentist’s instructions.

Make sure you don’t get any of this medication near your eyes. Spread a thin layer to the affected region, using the least amount possible. The dosage is determined by your medical condition and treatment response. The weight and age also help determine the dosage for children.

Don’t raise your dosage or take this medication more frequently or for longer than recommended. Your condition won’t improve any quicker, and you will be more susceptible to adverse effects.

Apply lidocaine ointment to all areas of the dentures, touch your gums with clean hands if you’re using it to help ease the pain of new dentures. Don’t apply the ointment on the chewing regions of your dentures to reduce the quantity of lidocaine that you may swallow. During the fitting process, visit your dentist regularly. 

Carefully follow your dentist’s directions. After each use, wash your hands.

Numbness in the throat or mouth from this drug can make swallowing difficult, increasing your risk of choking or swallowing incorrectly. While your mouth or throat is numb, don’t chew gum or eat after taking this product for one hour. Children must wait at least 60 minutes after using this product before chewing gum or eating. Make sure you don’t bite your mouth or tongue by accident.

If you’re using this medication on the skin or other mucous membranes, wipe the affected region as much as possible before using it and apply it with clean hands as advised. Use a sterile gauze pad to apply the ointment to broken or burned skin. Unless you’re treating a spot on your hands, wash your hands after each use.

Within five minutes of treatment, lidocaine begins to numb the affected area. If the site doesn’t feel numb or the numbness doesn’t go away after using this product before specific operations, tell your doctor. Let your physician know if the problem persists or worsens if you’re using this medicine to ease discomfort or pain.

Lidocaine Topical Side Effects

Common side effects of Lidocaine include:

  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Irritation symptoms (topical products); i.e., swelling, redness
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Nausea
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Redness at the injection site
  • Skin irritation
  • Small purple or red spots on the skin
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

Serious side effects of lidocaine include:

  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Malignant hyperthermia
  • Methemoglobinemia
  • Seizures
  • Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis)

This doesn’t list all potential side effects, and others may occur. Check with your doctor for further information about side effects.