Dibucaine (topical)

Sunburn, skin irritations, insect bites, and other skin problems can effectively be treated with dibucaine, simply by applying this ointment directly to the area affected.

Overview

Dibucaine is a topical application which can bring fast-acting relief to areas on the skin which are irritated for various reasons. Sunburn is one of the most commonly treated ailments, as well as bites by insects or skin irritations from other sources. Dibucaine is also used to reduce rectal discomfort which has been caused by the swelling and irritation associated with hemorrhoids.

The way dibucaine works is to relieve the pain through numbing the area which is being bothered by some source of irritation. Its anesthetic properties allow it to temporarily suppress the painful sensation associated with the trigger source. Dibucaine does not cure the problem which is causing the pain, but it does relieve the pain associated with it, so it should be borne in mind that the relief is likely to be temporary, and any really persistent pain will probably return eventually, and require additional treatment.

Condition Treated

  • Minor pain and itching, rectal irritation from hemorrhoids

Type Of Medicine

  • Anesthetic

Side Effects

There are very few side effects associated with dibucaine topical which call for immediate medical attention, although if you observe a worsening of the irritated skin being treated, you should contact your doctor about this at the earliest opportunity.

Probably the most severe side effect which could happen when using this medication is an allergic reaction, and if this happens, you should seek medical attention immediately, because the side effects from an allergic reaction can be severe. The characteristics which identify an allergic reaction to this medication are as follows:

  • New hives or rashes appearing on the skin
  • Sudden difficulty breathing or extreme tightness in the chest
  • Noticeable swelling in the facial area, or of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • Sudden and severe dizziness or disorientation.

You should discontinue use of dibucaine topical immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Irregular heartbeat or suddenly very fast heartbeat
  • Discoloration of the skin so that it appears bluish or black
  • Strong headaches
  • Tired or fatigued feeling
  • Shortness of breath or very shallow breathing
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Sudden weakness
  • New skin irritations or rashes which have no apparent cause
  • Bleeding from the rectum.

Dosage

Dibucaine topical should be used exactly as described on the label, or as instructed by your doctor, but it should never be ingested orally. It is only for application on the skin, and then only for clear, clean skin which has no open sores or wounds. Since it is intended to treat skin irritations, it is allowable to put dibucaine topical on sunburns, windburned skin, chapped or blistered skin, and skin which is otherwise irritated.

It should be applied to the affected area as needed in order to manage the pain and discomfort, although three or four times daily is generally sufficient during waking hours. Before you apply dibucaine topical to any skin area, make sure that the targeted area has been gently washed with soap and water, then rinsed and dried gently with a tissue, paper towel, or soft cloth. Enough ointment should be applied to cover the entire affected area so that the maximum pain relief can be achieved.

When dibucaine topical is used in the treatment of hemorrhoids, it must only be applied to the outside area of the rectum, and never within. The ideal time to apply dibucaine topical to the rectum is after a bowel movement, as many as four times in a given day, for the relief of any pain or itching which may be present.

Whatever conditions you are using dibucaine topical for, make sure that you wash your hands after every usage. Avoid using more than an entire tube of dibucaine ointment in any 24 hour period, and if the ointment is being used on a person under the age of 18 years, it is best to use no more than one-quarter tube in a given 24 hour period.

If you feel the need to protect the site which has been treated with dibucaine topical, it is permissible to apply a gauze dressing or a very light bandage, as long as you make sure that air can pass through the covering. Do not apply anything like a plastic wrap which will prevent the flow of air around the irritated site.

If the affected skin area does not show a noticeable improvement within a seven-day period when you have used dibucaine topical several times each day, you should contact your doctor and mention this fact. If you notice that you have increasing redness, swelling, irritation, or even bleeding, report these symptoms, as well as any new symptoms which appear, to your doctor as soon as possible.

Interactions

It is unlikely that dibucaine topical will interact with any other medication that you may be taking, especially since this is an external medicine applied to the skin, and is not taken internally. However, it is possible for there to be interactions between other medications you may be taking, so it's always a good idea to have a prepared list of all the prescription medications you are taking, as well as over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins, so that your doctor can review the list and be sure there are no conflicts.

This is a handy list to have whenever you go to an emergency room for treatment as well, since any doctor there will not be aware of your medical history or your current medications. When a doctor has a full list of your current medications, it will be much safer for him/her to prescribe some kind of treatment for any condition you are experiencing temporarily.

Even though there are no real interactions with other drugs that you need to be concerned about when using dibucaine topical, there are some interactions you should be aware of. For instance, it's very important that you do not get this ointment anywhere near your eyes. If this does happen by accident, continue flushing your eyes with cool water, until any burning sensation subsides.

You should also avoid any kind of exposure to direct sunlight, tanning beds, or any other artificial light sources, since dibucaine topical can make you more sensitive to such light sources. If you know that you are going to be out in bright sunshine, wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and use a strong sunscreen rated at SPF 30 or above, to protect your skin.

Warnings

Obviously, you should not use dibucaine topical if you know beforehand that you are allergic to it, or any of the ingredients used to make it. It may not be safe for you to use this medication if you have asthma or some kind of a sulfite allergy, so you should discuss these situations with your doctor, and follow all of his/her recommendations on the subject.

There is no body of evidence which exists to clarify whether or not dibucaine topical will harm an unborn baby, or whether it is absorbed through the skin, such that it can be also absorbed by the fetus. To be on the safe side, it is prudent to discuss with your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using dibucaine topical.

By the same token, it is likewise unknown whether or not dibucaine topical can be passed through breastmilk to a nursing infant. Since there is very little research information to guide anyone on the subject, it is best to consult with your doctor about the advisability of breastfeeding while using dibucaine topical.

Whenever it is being considered to use dibucaine topical on children age 12 or below, it should only be done so at the recommendation of the family doctor, and after a full discussion of the condition to be treated. Under no conditions, should this ointment be used on children less than two years old, because the skin could become more irritated than it was originally.

Since most patients apply dibucaine topical only as needed to begin with, there is usually not any kind of dosing schedule to adhere to. However, if your doctor has recommended a dosage schedule in your case, it is best to apply them at the same time every day so that you can remember them more easily. Although there is no real danger of overdosing on this medication, it is still not advisable to double up on dosages if you've missed a scheduled dosage time.

Storage

It is best to store dibucaine topical at room temperature, away from moisture and or heat. Bathroom medicine cabinets are usually not good places to store any kind of medication, since this room is at least sometimes subject to high temperatures, and high humidity as well. Your topical medications should be kept well out of the reach of any pets or children in the household, because children might think it's toothpaste or some other tasty substance.

Ideally, some location high enough that children cannot access it is the best place to store your dibucaine topical. When your skin condition has cleared up, and you no longer need the ointment, do not dispose of it in any way that could be intercepted unintentionally by children in the household. If your doctor has not explained how to properly dispose of dibucaine topical, you can consult your pharmacist, or the FDA website on safe disposal of medicines.

Summary

Dibucaine topical is an anesthetic treatment which numbs the area of skin that's irritated for some reason. It is very effective at treating a variety of skin irritations such as insect bites, sunburns, skin that's been windburned, or blistering and peeling skin. It is also used in the treatment of hemorrhoids, since its numbing properties can relieve the pain and discomfort associated with bowel movements.

It is a relatively safe medication to use, with very few interactions with other drugs, few side effects which could be considered severe, and very few precautions that should be observed by users. Most people have good success with dibucaine topical after usage up to 4 times daily, for a period lasting about a week.