Lidocaine and Tetracaine (Topical)

Lidocaine and Tetracaine is applied topically before, during, or after medical procedures that require numbness.


Unlike general anesthetics, local anesthetics like Lidocaine and Tetracaine work by numbing one particular area. They do not produce unconsciousness. They are applied topically, and they stop the nerve endings from sending back pain signals to the brain. They can be useful during surgeries or medical procedures where the person could become uncomfortable by the pain of the treatment.

These anesthetics may be re-applied over the course of the procedure to maintain numbness, and overdose on these drugs is rare. When used properly as a topical medication, these medications are safe and can be used in tandem with general anesthetics to protect the patient from pain. These drugs are usually given by a medical professional, but prescription forms of the drug can be taken home by a patient as well. In these cases, they are most often given as creams and patches.

Lidocaine and Tetracaine can be a valuable resource for anyone suffering from skin conditions or other painful issues. They can numb the area while painkillers set in, or be used throughout the day to prevent pain. If your doctor has prescribed a Lidocaine and Tetracaine patch/cream, be sure to follow all their given instructions on how to use it.

Conditions Treated

  • Produces Numbness

Type Of Medication

  • Local Anesthetic

Side Effects

This drug may have side effects beyond the initial numbness. Many of these may go away the longer you use this drug, as your body gets used the medication and you learn to ignore them. If you experience any side effects that persist into your daily life and make your regular routine difficult, talk to your doctor. They may be able to give you additional medications or tips on how to cope with the side effects.

Most side effects do not require medical attention, but anything unusual or painful should be reported back to your doctor. Here are some of the most common side effects. Please note that this list is not exhaustive, and there is a chance you will experience things not on this list. If you have questions about this drug and its side effects, speak to your doctor or pharmacist to get more information.

  • Mild headache
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Drowsiness

These side effects are normal, and you may not experience them at all. Many patients report little to no side effects when using topical Lidocaine and Tetracaine.

Some side effects may be a sign that something is wrong with your treatment. If you experience any of the following side effects, contact your doctor as soon as possible. They may be symptoms of an allergic reaction to this drug. If you believe your life is in danger at any point, get medical help immediately. Allergic reactions are not to be taken lightly, and you should always assess the risk of allergies when using a drug for the first time.

  • Rash or blistering at the application site
  • Itching or swelling at the application site

Be sure to wipe off any cream and take off any patches if you experience these side effects. Do not attempt to re-apply the cream/patch on another part of the body, because that will cause the allergic reaction to occur elsewhere.

Any additional side effects that resemble allergic reactions (swelling of the face/mouth, trouble breathing), should also be monitored and reported back to a medical professional. With topical medications, these symptoms are less likely, but they should never be ruled out. During the first week of your treatment with this drug, keep a list of all potential side effects. Be sure to mention any unusual ones to your doctor during your next visit. While many people are able to use Lidocaine and Tetracaine without issue, some people react adversely to this drug.


This drug may be used differently depending on whether or not you're using the cream or the patch. In any case, follow your doctor's instructions when using this drug. If you think you might need to increase/decrease your dose, be sure to mention this before any surgery/procedure begins. The doctor will apply the patch or cream about 10-15 minutes before the procedure. If you still have feeling after 30 minutes, tell your doctor.

Avoid touching your face or eyes after you've had contact with this drug. The drug may carry over and cause numbness in those areas, and rubbing at your face when it's numbed can cause damage. Do not touch the numbed area or scratch at it while it is numb. This may cause damage you won't feel until the drug has worn off.

If you need to take home this drug at any point, your doctor may give you an information leaflet or the manufacturer's information on this drug. Be sure to read it over before you leave, and ask them about anything you don't understand. Talk to your pharmacist if you have further questions about how this drug is used.


This drug may interact with other medications on your prescription list. It may also have interactions with over the counter drugs and herbal remedies, so always mention those to your doctor when listing your taken medications. Interactions should be avoided if possible, so your doctor might ask that you pause or switch certain prescriptions while using this drug. While unpleasant, this is important to your health. If it is necessary that you take both drugs, your doctor may lower your dose of one or both medications.

As a local anesthetic, Lidocaine and Tetracaine do not interact heavily with many medications. However, an anti-rhythmic medication called Amidodarone does interact heavily with Lidocaine. Avoid taking this medication if possible or discuss alternative drugs with your doctor. If you only need to take Lidocaine and Tetracaine for a short period of time, you should be able to re-start your medication once your Lidocaine prescription ends. There might be other interactions not listed here, so be sure to go over all possible interactions with your doctor before administering this medication.


All drugs come with risks, so be sure to assess any that apply to you carefully. Your doctor may go over these risks with you, so be sure to ask questions and mention any relevant conditions.

Lidocaine and Tetracaine should not be used by those with severe liver disease or enzyme issues. These conditions may cause the drug to be removed more slowly from the body, causing additional side effects and a longer effect period. Do not apply this drug to broken or irritated skin, especially if you have never used this drug before. If you have an allergic reaction in this area, it will become more painful.

Tell your doctor right away if you experience allergy symptoms like swelling, redness, rash, or blistering of the skin. An allergic reaction can become serious if left untreated, so make sure your doctor knows about any existing allergies to Lidocaine/Tetracaine or related medications.

Do not touch your face, eyes, or the affected area after the drug has been administered. You may accidentally hurt yourself while you are numbed. If you experience drowsiness or headache while using this medication, wait until you are fit to drive yourself home after any medical procedures or surgery. If you do not feel comfortable operating a vehicle, call a friend or taxi to pick you up.

If you need to take this drug home, make sure to go over all the manufacturer's information with your doctor or pharmacist before using it. Do not use this drug without a prescription, and do not use this drug recklessly. Overdose of this drug is possible if it is taken orally or applied over too much of the body. Use Lidocaine and Tetracaine responsibly, and never buy/accept non-prescription forms of this drug.


Medical staff are trained to store and handle this drug, so you do not need to worry about storing this medication yourself. They will apply it to you before a medical procedure or surgery, and monitor your reactions as the drug sets in. If you do need to take this drug home, your pharmacist may give you the manufacturer's information to help you understand how this drug is stored.

Always keep this drug in a cool, dry place, and never leave it within reach of children. Children or pets may accidentally consume this drug and become ill. This drug is topical only, and you should never try to take it by mouth. Overdose may occur if too much of this drug is eaten or applied. If your child or pet has eaten this drug, call poison control right away. Keep the prescription information on hand, and be ready to tell them how much was eaten, when it was consumed, and what the drug is.

Symptoms of overdose include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • No heartbeat
  • Shallow/fast breathing


Local anesthetics like Lidocaine and Tetracaine are usually given by doctors or nurses to produce numbness in one particular area. They may be used with general anesthetics before surgery to make sure the patient feels no pain during the procedure. People with skin problems may be given this drug during small surgeries like mole removal. These drugs are widely used, and most people react little/not at all to this medication. They are common anesthetics, and other forms of this drug are used by dentists and given via prescription.

Be sure to tell your doctor if you have any allergies to local anesthetics like Lidocaine and Tetracaine. If you experience allergies the first time, be sure to tell any future doctors/surgeons this. If you are given this drug via prescription, only use it as directed. Apply it carefully and wash your hands afterwards, and keep it out of reach of children.

While this drug is a useful treatment for pain, it should never be taken orally or used in excess. If you are experiencing chronic pain, do not use Lidocaine and Tetracaine as your primary pain treatment. This drug is an anesthetic, and you should seek out treatment for the root of the issue. Use this drug responsibly, and talk to your doctor if you have further questions.