Topical Anesthetics

Many options to deliver anesthesia have developed over the last several decades. Administration of topical anesthetics to control pain associated with procedures such as laceration repair may avoid the need for infiltrative local anesthesia injections and associated pain from the injections. Topical anesthesia also avoids the risk of wound margin distortion that exists with infiltrative injection administration. Many dosage forms exist (e.g. gels, sprays, creams, ointments, patches) and provide the clinician with precise options for application under various circumstances.


The following article concludes: “LAT gel (4% lidocaine, 1:2000 adrenaline, 0.5% tetracaine) worked as well as TAC gel (0.5% tetracaine, 1:2000 adrenaline, 11.8% cocaine) for topical anesthesia in facial and scalp lacerations. Considering the advantages of a noncontrolled substance and less expense, LAT gel appears to be better suited than TAC gel for topical anesthesia in laceration repair in children.”

Pediatrics. 1995 Feb;95(2):255-8

The following article reported that a triple-anesthetic gel containing benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine (“BLT”) applied prior to treatment with a 532-nm KTP laser resulted in significantly lower pain scores than with 3 other topical anesthetics at 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes after application.

Cosmetic Dermatology 2003 Apr;16(4):35-7

Yemi Omilana