What are the Most Common Uses for Lidocaine?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon
A vial of lidocaine.
A vial of lidocaine.

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.

Lidocaine may be used when having a wart removed.
Lidocaine may be used when having a wart removed.

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.

Lidocaine ointment can be used to soothe a sunburn.
Lidocaine ointment can be used to soothe a sunburn.

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.

Numbing sprays have been employed in clinical trials to treat premature ejaculation.
Numbing sprays have been employed in clinical trials to treat premature ejaculation.

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.

Lidocaine may be used to numb the area before major dental procedures.
Lidocaine may be used to numb the area before major dental procedures.

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.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a TheHealthBoard researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

burcidi

@ddljohn-- I've been given Xylocaine, a lidocaine brand, for my dysrhythmia. I went to the hospital with chest discomfort and difficulty breathing. They did an electrocardiogram (ECG) and said that my heart rhythms were completely off and that they need to administer lidocaine hydrochloride to get everything back to normal. It worked and I might have had a heart attack if I hadn't been given that.

I actually had a long chat about it with my doctor later and he explained to me how it works. He said that my heart was too sensitive to the electrical impulses of my nervous system causing my heart rhythms to get out of balance which doesn't allow the proper circulation of blood. What the lidocaine does is that it makes the heart less sensitive to electrical impulses and regulates the rhythm. Blood circulates more easily and evenly in the body that way.

serenesurface

Lidocaine is such a great pain reliever. I'm a migraine patient and I'm given a serum with it from time to when I'm dealing with a very serious migraine. It immediately relieves my pain! Nothing else does such a great job, but of course, I can't use it often. It's kind of my last resort because lidocaine's side effects can be very strong if it is used often.

I'm still glad that I have this option though. My mom can't take lidocaine at all, nor other medications in the same category like novocaine because she is extremely sensitive to it. She was given lidocaine once at the dentist and almost passed out from it. It made her really disoriented and dizzy. She's not allowed lidocaine for that reason.

ddljohn

How exactly does lidocaine treat arrhythmia?

I've used a lidocaine topical ointment several times before. Once for a burn and another time to numb the area before removal of a skin tag.

I had never heard of a lidocaine injection being used for arrhythmia though. I'm really curious about how that works exactly, because anesthesia and regulation of heart rhythms seem like two very different things to me.

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    • A vial of lidocaine.
      By: Restyler
      A vial of lidocaine.
    • Lidocaine may be used when having a wart removed.
      By: Tiler84
      Lidocaine may be used when having a wart removed.
    • Lidocaine ointment can be used to soothe a sunburn.
      By: Rostislav Sedlacek
      Lidocaine ointment can be used to soothe a sunburn.
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      By: Ambrose
      Numbing sprays have been employed in clinical trials to treat premature ejaculation.
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      Lidocaine may be used to numb the area before major dental procedures.
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