What Are Topical Anesthetics?
Topical anesthesia is used to numb surface body parts such as skin, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, throat, genitals, and anus.
Topical anesthetics are available in several forms:
What Are Topical Anesthetics Used For?
Topical anesthetics are used:
- To apply or remove stitches
- To insert an intravenous (IV) line
- To insert a catheter
- Prior to laser skin treatments
- For anything involving a needle poke
- To relieve pain caused by skin conditions such as sunburn, minor skin burns, and other minor scratches and cuts
- For pain relief in ear infections
- To relieve itching caused by insect bites and stings, or contact with poison ivy/oak/sumac
- To numb the surface of the eye for ophthalmologic procedures
- To numb oral tissue before dental procedures local anesthetics are administered via needle
- To numb a sore throat or mouth sores
- To relieve hemorrhoids
- For temporary relief of premature ejaculation when applied to the head of the penis
What Is Used as A Topical Anesthetic?
Some common topical anesthetics include:
What Are Side Effects of Topical Anesthetics?
Side effects of topical anesthetics include:
- Burning or stinging at the application site
While uncommon, when there are high concentrations of anesthetics absorbed systemically, more serious side effects may occur such as:
- Systemic toxicity, particularly with repeated use in infants or children, from oral viscous lidocaine
- Central nervous system (CNS) stimulation (including seizures), followed by CNS depression (including respiratory arrest)
- Slow heart rate
- Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias)
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
- Cardiovascular collapse
- Cardiac arrest
- High blood pressure, fast heart rate, and chest pain (angina) in local anesthetics that contain epinephrine
- Gag-reflex suppression with oral administration.
- Methemoglobinemia (very rare)