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What Is Used as a Topical Anesthetic?

Reviewed on 7/29/2020

What Are Topical Anesthetics?

Topical anesthesia comes as a cream or spray to numb parts of the skin or mucous membranes for minor skin and dental procedures.
Topical anesthesia comes as a cream or spray to numb parts of the skin or mucous membranes for minor skin and dental procedures.

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:

  • Creams
  • Gels
  • Lotions
  • Ointments
  • Patches
  • Sprays

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:

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Reviewed on 7/29/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference
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