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Lidocaine is commonly used as a local anesthesia for minor procedures, to manage pain for rashes and burns, and as an antiarrhythmic agent for patients with heart conditions. Drug developers first started producing this drug in the 1940s, and it is available in a variety of formats, including injectable solutions, patches, topical sprays, and gels. Some formulations can be purchased at a pharmacy without a prescription.
People with sunburns, mild rashes, and similar skin problems can purchase skin care products over the counter to manage pain and irritation. Many of these include a mild lidocaine solution to numb the area temporarily. It is important to use these compounds as directed because they can potentially be dangerous. Patients who notice rashes, bumps, and skin irritation should discontinue the topical medication and consult a doctor to get advice on other skin care options so they can treat the problem as safely as possible.
In a hospital or clinic, a doctor may offer lidocaine before an injection if the shot will be painful, and can apply topical or injected medication to numb a site before a medical procedure. Dentists use this drug as a local anesthetic for many kinds of dental surgeries, keeping the patient comfortable while they work. It can be useful for things like preparing for wart removal, skin biopsies, and other potentially painful medical procedures. Some doctors may prescribe the medication for patients with neuropathy, to dampen the signals sent by the nerves so the patient will not experience as much pain.
In the treatment of a patient with an arrhythmia, lidocaine is among the library of drugs available for use. A person with appropriate medical qualifications can diagnose the problem with the heartbeat and decide on the most appropriate medication to use, drawing up a syringe with the right dosage. People experiencing heart attacks and other heart abnormalities should make sure care providers know about a history of any adverse drug reactions so they can decide which medication would be the best choice for a given patient.
Patients can experience allergic reactions to lidocaine, causing difficulty breathing, pain, rashes, and changes to the skin. They should report any discomfort promptly so a doctor can decide how to proceed. It is also important to communicate if a local anesthetic appears to be wearing off so the doctor can give more, and possibly adjust the dosage if the patient seems to metabolize the medication unusually quickly.