Everything You Should Know About Lidocaine

February 2021

Lidocaine (trade name, e.g., Xylocaine ®) is a topical anesthetic, a so-called local anesthetic. It is very quick and effective and is used very often. Applied to the skin or mucous membrane, lidocaine quickly and effectively relieves pain, itching, and burning. Lidocaine is often given to sew smaller wounds without pain and carry out surgical treatments.

 It can also be administered against cardiac arrhythmias and has a few other areas of application.

Maximum Dose of Lidocaine

The maximum dose for an average adult is 200 mg single dose of lidocaine without adrenaline and 500 mg single dose with adrenaline. However, these are only guidelines, as many factors play a role in the individual maximum dose. The most important thing here is the weight of the person affected. Liver function is also crucial since the liver breaks down lidocaine. Furthermore, the intake of lidocaine depends on the dosage form.

What is the Use of Lidocaine?

  • Lidocaine for Pain Management

Almost all possible uses of lidocaine are aimed at relieving pain. In most cases, this is local pain relief. Sprays, plasters, gels, ointments, injections, mouthwashes, and other options are suitable as dosage forms. The type of application varies depending on the location and type of injury or inflammation. One advantage of pain therapy with lidocaine is that it works quickly.

Lidocaine can also be used for pain therapy during and shortly after operations. It does this through the bloodstream. Lidocaine is not officially approved for this.

  • Lidocaine for Migraines

In the case of migraines, topical application of lidocaine via a nasogastric tube can stop the acute attack and prevent further attacks in the following days. This is done by numbing a nerve knot in the area of ​​the root of the nose, the so-called pterygopalatine ganglion.

This anesthetic works longer than the lidocaine itself can be detected, as the nerve node is a kind of reset button for migraines. The circulation is therefore interrupted once, and the migraine attacks become less frequent at first. However, this migraine therapy is not a cure either.

  • Lidocaine for Hemorrhoids

Lidocaine can be used in various dosage forms to treat pain caused by hemorrhoids. One possibility is the administration of suppositories. Another form is an ointment. It is also possible to use hemotamps, which are a type of soaked tampons. All dosage forms must be used correctly. 

How Lidocaine Works?

Lidocaine works as local anesthetic on our nerves. A nerve picks up a stimulus via many nerve endings and passes on this signal to the spinal cord or brain, where we perceive the stimulus as pain, for example. This forwarding takes place with the help of minerals like potassium and sodium.

Lidocaine influences the sodium channels and thus prevents the stimulus from being transmitted. Thus, for the moment that lidocaine is active, the pain cannot be felt, the area is numb.

Final Words

Such sodium channels also exist in the heart, where they are essential for the heart rate and rhythm. If lidocaine blocks these channels in the heart, the heartbeat slows down, and the rhythm can normalize. This is used in the use of lidocaine for cardiac arrhythmias.

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