Lidocaine

Lidocaine

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic or “numbing” substance that works by blocking the pathway of signals from your nerves to your brain. The communication between your brain and nerves is only blocked temporarily. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Patient Leaflet(s)

Lidocaine is a form of medication known commonly as a local anesthetic. Lidocaine can be used for a wide variety of different purposes, including to prevent pain, or numb parts of the body. This substance blocks the nerve signals sent to the brain from specific muscles and other areas.  

What is Lidocaine? 

Lidocaine is a local anesthetic or “numbing” substance that works by blocking the pathway of signals from your nerves to your brain. The communication between your brain and nerves is only blocked temporarily. In some cases, lidocaine may be administered to numb areas that would typically feel pain – such as when a child is given an injection.  

Lidocaine can be used in its topical form to reduce discomfort or pain caused by skin issues like insect bites, sunburn, poison oak, poison ivy, and more. The topical medication can reduce sensation in the area of the application, including not just pain, but also itching and general discomfort too. A consultant will need to prescribe a prescription for this medication, as it is not available over the counter. Lidocaine is available in many forms, including in patches, and ointments.  

When is Lidocaine used? 

Lidocaine can be prescribed for a wide variety of different reasons. More often than not, this medication is used to eliminate pain and discomfort caused by things like sunburn, poison oak, poison ivy, minor scratches and cuts. It’s also possible to use Lidocaine when treating the rectal discomfort that is caused by hemorrhoids, however, you will need to apply the medication very carefully in this case. It is also possible to use Lidocaine for skin conditions like eczema.  

Some forms of this medication are also used to reduce the discomfort and pain that patients feel during specific medical procedures or examinations. For instance, you may be given Lidocaine when you are having a cystoscopy, or sigmoidoscopy. Lidocaine will temporarily cause you to lose feeling in your mucous and skin membranes. How long you lose feeling in the affected area will depend on a number of factors.  

How do you use Lidocaine? 

When using Lidocaine for any purpose, it is important to follow the instructions given by your consultant carefully. You will receive a patient leaflet in the packaging included for Lidocaine. You can use this patient leaflet to learn more about how to apply Lidocaine to certain areas, and how to reduce your risk of certain side effects. If you have any questions, contact a pharmacist or medical professional.  

Lidocaine is a topical treatment, which means that it is applied directly to the skin, often to the area experiencing the pain or discomfort. Before using this medication, make sure that you clean the affected area thoroughly and dry it. Apply a thin layer of Lidocaine to the skin usually 2 or 3 times per day, according to the instructions provided.  

Lidocaine can also come in spray and foam forms. If you are using either of these medications, you will need to shake the canister before using it and hold it around 3-5 inches from the area that you want to apply the Lidocaine too. Make sure that you do not spray foam or anything else into your mouth or eyes. If you get Lidocaine into your eyes, nose, or mouth, rinse the area thoroughly as quickly as possible.  

It is generally advised not to use Lidocaine on large patches of the body or cover the area with waterproof substances after you have applied the medication. Do not apply heat to the area treated with Lidocaine unless your doctor advises you to do otherwise. Applying heat to the area could increase your risk of side effects.  

After using Lidocaine, wash your hands immediately, unless the area to be treated is on the hands. You can also use gloves to avoid numbing the skin on your fingers.  

What dosages are there? 

The dosage provided for Lidocaine will be based on factors including your response to previous forms of treatment, and your current medical condition. You may need to use Lidocaine differently depending on whether you are using it for a medical procedure, or to treat a burn or injury.  

Do not use more of this substance than recommended. Using a large amount of Lidocaine will not reduce the pain any faster. You should also make sure that you do not continue to use this medication for longer than directed by your consultant. If you have a sore or infection in the area that you intend to treat with Lidocaine do not use the medication without approval first.  

The usual dose for Lidocaine cream is a small amount of cream (1 to 2ml) applied directly to the skin. You can use up to 4cm of cream from the tube to treat pain and itching depending on the area to be treated. Be careful; not to use too much of this medication within a 24 hour period. If your condition worsens or you think that you may be responding negatively to treatment with Lidocaine, contact an emergency care professional  

What are the side effects of Lidocaine? 

All medications, including Lidocaine can sometimes have effects other than their intended effects. Although it is not guaranteed that you will experience any side effects when taking this medication, it may be useful to find out what the side effects can be so that you are properly prepared. Be aware that the side effects listed below are not a complete list, so you may need to speak to your doctor if you notice any strange results when using Lidocaine.  

Some of the most common side effects of Lidocaine are likely to take place when you first begin using the medication, and your body is still getting used to the substance. These issues might include problems like temporary redness or discoloration of the area. You may also notice some slight irritation at the site of the Lidocaine application. If the effects worsen or persist, speak to your doctor.  

Lidocaine may also cause some more serious side effects in certain people. You should always get emergency attention from a professional if you notice seizures, pale or grey skin, or slow or shallow breathing after using this medication. Seek help if your heartbeat is irregular, such as too fast or too slow, or if you experience instances of sudden tiredness.  

While it is unusual to have a very severe allergic reaction to this drug, getting medical help immediately if you notice signs of an allergy is important. Remember that you can have many side effects as a result of an allergic reaction, including itching and rashes in the area, swelling around the face throat and tongue, and severe or troubling dizziness. You may also encounter problems with your breathing. If you notice any other side effects that are worrying to you, contact a doctor or medical health professional.  

When shouldn't you use Lidocaine? 

Before you use Lidocaine, tell your consultant if you are allergic to this substance, or if you have ever had an allergic reaction to any other similar form of medication. This includes any allergic reactions that you have had to anesthetics like prilocaine. Do not use this medication before speaking to your consultant about your complete medical history. You will need to answer any questions your consultant has about your background honestly to ensure that this medication is safe for you to use.  

Remember that you may have allergic reactions to inactive ingredients in this cream. Speak to your consultant about any other allergic reactions you have. Before using this substance, tell your consultant if you have any skin infections or sores where you plan on using Lidocaine. Additionally, it is important that your consultant is aware of any history of liver disease, heart disease, or blood disorders that you may have had up until now.  

Lidocaine can affect the results of some medical test. If you are going to have an MRI at a hospital, you will need to tell the professionals there that you are taking Lidocaine. Certain versions of this medication may contain metals that can lead to burns and other serious side effects during an MRI. Any substances containing metals should not be used before an MRI imaging test.  

Before you have surgery, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about all of the products that you currently use, including non-prescription medications, prescription drugs, and herbal supplements. During pregnancy, this medication should not be used unless it is very clearly needed. You will need to discuss the risks of taking this medication when pregnant before use. Lidocaine can sometimes pass into breast milk; however, it is unlikely to harm a nursing child.  

Does Lidocaine interact with any other medications? 

Medications can sometimes interact negatively with other substances and cause dangerous side effects. Before you begin using Lidocaine, you should speak to your consultant about any other medications that you are already using. Currently, there are no known medications that interact with this form of Lidocaine. However, it is worth speaking to your consultant about whether it is safe to apply cosmetics and other substances after using Lidocaine.  

Where can you buy Lidocaine? 

You can purchase Lidocaine with us through a corresponding pharmacy after completing a full EU consultation. Your medication will be shipped for you to a local pharmacy where it will be available for collection.  

Can you get Lidocaine without a prescription?  

Certain forms of Lidocaine may be available without a prescription. However, most of the time, the cream version of this substance will only be available with a prescription and a medical consultation.  Do not use any medication before you know that it is right for you. 

Sources 

Drugs.com, online, 2019, “Lidocaine topical”[Accessed 20th of November 2019] Available on: https://www.drugs.com/mtm/lidocaine-topical.html 

Medline Plus, online, 2019 “Lidocaine Transdermal Patch” [Accessed 20th of November 2019] Available on:  https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603026.html 

RXlist online, 2019 “Lidocaine” [Accessed 20th of November 2019] Available on: https://www.rxlist.com/consumer_lidocaine_lidopen/drugs-condition.htm 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.