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Lidocaine Tetracaine Benzocaine Prilocaine

March 21, 2012 by staff 

Lidocaine Tetracaine Benzocaine Prilocaine, Below is the FDA public health advisory regarding topical anesthetics, including creams, gels, etc. that contain lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, or prilocaine. At least two women have died after application of topical anesthetics. If you have been injured or a family member has been injured or died (wrongful death) after having a topical anesthetic applied, a lawyer at Pritzker | Olsen, P.A. is available for a free consultation. To contact a lawyer at Pritzker | Olsen, P.A., please call toll-free at 1-888-377-8900 or submit the firm’s online consultation form.

Our senior partner, Fred Pritzker, has over 30 years of product liability lawsuit experience and has recovered millions for clients. In addition to his many other accomplishments, he is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and a Certified Trial Specialist. In recognition of his accomplishments, he has been selected by other lawyers for inclusion in the 2005-2006 edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

FDA Public Health Advisory: Life-Threatening Side Effects with the Use of Skin Products Containing Numbing Ingredients for Cosmetic Procedures

February 6, 2007 – FDA is issuing this advisory to alert you to the potential hazards of using skin numbing products, also known as topical anesthetics, for cosmetic procedures. These topical anesthetics contain anesthetic drugs such as lidocaine, tetracaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine in a cream, ointment, or gel. Topical anesthetics are widely used to numb the skin for medical and cosmetic procedures, and to relieve pain and burning and itching due to a variety of medical conditions. FDA has approved many products for these uses. Some must be prescribed by a doctor; others may be purchased without a prescription. Applying topical anesthetics for a medical procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office by a trained medical professional. However, FDA is aware that use of these products before a cosmetic procedure may not be supervised by trained health professionals. Without this supervision, a patient may apply large amounts of topical anesthetics to their skin. This application can result in high levels of these products in the blood causing life-threatening side effects, such as an irregular heartbeat, seizures, and death.

Topical anesthetics are sometimes used in ways not approved by FDA and at doses that may pose a risk for serious harm to consumers. FDA is aware of two instances where women, aged 22 and 25 years old, applied topical anesthetics to their legs to lessen the pain of laser hair removal. These women then wrapped their legs in plastic wrap, as they were instructed, to increase the creams’ numbing effect. Both women had seizures, fell into comas, and subsequently died from the toxic effects of the anesthetic drugs. The skin numbing creams used in these two cases were made in pharmacies and contained high amounts of the anesthetic drugs lidocaine and tetracaine. FDA also has received reports of serious and life-threatening side effects such as irregular heart beat, seizures and coma, and slowed or stopped breathing following the use of these numbing products. These effects happened in both children and adults and when the anesthetic drug was used both for approved and unapproved conditions.

Topical anesthetics work by blocking pain sensation in the skin. Some of the anesthetic drugs in these products can pass through the skin into the blood stream, and if too much gets into the blood, patients can experience serious harm. More drug passes into the blood stream when the product is applied over a large area of skin, when it stays on the skin for a long time, and when the skin is covered after application of the cream. Anesthetic drugs may also pass into the blood stream if the skin is irritated or has a rash, or if the skin temperature goes up. Exercise, covering the skin with a wrap, or use of a heating pad can all increase the skin temperature. The amount of the drug that can pass through the skin and enter the blood also can differ from person to person.

If you are thinking about having a cosmetic or medical procedure on your skin, you should discuss with your doctor if you need a numbing product to ease the pain and, if so, if you can use a topical anesthetic approved for that use by the FDA. You should also discuss with your doctor whether there are other ways to reduce the pain you may feel during the procedure. Some patients report that they do not need to use topical anesthetics. Some procedures may require a degree of numbness that cannot be safely achieved with these products. There are other techniques that doctors can use if a high amount of numbness is needed.

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