April 24, 2024

Silencing Sensations: Lidocaine Ointment’s Numbing Power

What is Lidocaine Ointment?

Lidocaine ointment is a topical medication that contains the active ingredient lidocaine, which is a local anesthetic ( numbing medication). It works by blocking sodium channels in nerve fibers, thereby preventing the conduction of pain signals to the brain.

How Does Lidocaine Ointment Work?

Lidocaine ointment works by forming a protective barrier on the skin when applied, which blocks the sensory receptors from detecting pain. When pain receptors are stimulated, they send signals along nerve fibers to the spinal cord and brain. Lidocaine blocks this pain signal transmission by preventing the opening of sodium channels in the nerve fibers beneath the skin. Sodium channels are important for the conduction of electrical signals along the nerve fibers. By blocking these channels, lidocaine is able to numb the area and relieve pain. The numbing effect is usually felt within 10-60 minutes after application and can last for 2-4 hours.

Uses of Lidocaine Ointment

Some common uses of lidocaine ointment include:

– Postherpetic Neuralgia: It is commonly prescribed for managing chronic nerve pain that sometimes develops after shingles (herpes zoster infection). By numbing the painful area, it provides effective relief.

– Minor Burns: It helps relieve pain from minor burns, including sunburns. The numbing effect allows painful areas to heal without discomfort.

– Warts: Lidocaine ointment eases pain from cuts or scrapes needed to remove warts. It also relieves pain from the warts themselves.

– Skin Procedures: It is applied prior to minor medical procedures like wound dressing changes or injections to reduce pain from needle pricks or skin manipulation.

– Trauma or Injury: For numbing small cuts, grazes, bite wounds or other minor skin injuries, lidocaine ointment provides pain relief during healing.

– Skin Conditions: Conditions like lichen planus, psoriasis, insect bites, and shingles that cause skin irritation or itching get relief from lidocaine’s numbing action.

Composition and Strengths

Lidocaine ointment is available over-the-counter in various strengths from 2-5%. The inactive ingredients include purified water, glycerin, emulsifying wax, white petrolatum, propylene glycol and preservatives. Higher concentrations require a prescription for stronger numbing effect in more serious conditions. Besides ointment form, it also comes as patch, gel or cream depending on the intended use area.

Correct Application Technique

For lidocaine ointment to work optimally, it is important to apply it correctly:

– Clean and dry the affected area before applying. Gentle cleansing removes oil, sweat or dirt that can prevent proper absorption.

– Use enough ointment to generously cover the entire painful area in a thin, even layer, about 1/4 inch thick.

– Gently rub or massage the ointment in, taking care not to disrupt any wounds. This helps it penetrate and coat nerves beneath the skin.

– Reapply every few hours as needed to maintain numbness for up to 4 hours. Ensure the previous layer has absorbed before reapplying.

– For burns, always apply a sterile non-stick bandage over the ointment to protect the area.

– Wash hands thoroughly after application unless hands are the treatment area.

Safety and Side Effects

Lidocaine ointment is very safe when used as directed on intact skin. However, some mild and rare side effects may include local skin redness, rash, irritation or burning sensation. Overdosage as with any numbing medication could potentially lead to systemic side effects like dizziness, metallic taste, blurred vision or seizures in very rare cases when a large area is treated. As with any new medication, consult your doctor before use if you have any medical conditions or allergies. Keep out of reach of children and pets.

Finally, lidocaine ointment provides powerful topical pain relief without the need for oral medications in many conditions affecting the skin or nerves. When applied correctly, it safely numbs the affected area within minutes to get quick relief from pain, itching and discomfort during wound healing or minor procedures.

 *Note :
1.     Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2.     We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile