Lidocaine detailed information

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Lidocaine detailed information
Clinical data
  • AU: A
Routes of
IV, subcutaneous, topical
ATC code
Legal status
Legal status
  • AU: S4 (Prescription only)
  • US: unregulated
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability35% (oral)
3% (topical)
MetabolismHepatic, 90% CYP1A2-mediated
Elimination half-life1.5–2 hours
CAS Number
PubChem CID
E number{{#property:P628}}
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Chemical and physical data
Molar mass234.34 g/mol
3D model (JSmol)
Melting point68 °C (154.4 °F)

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

Lidocaine (INN) (pronounced /ˈlaɪdoʊkeɪn/) or lignocaine (former BAN) (/ˈlɪgnoʊkeɪn/) is a common local anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drug. Lidocaine is used topically to relieve itching, burning and pain from skin inflammations, injected as a dental anesthetic, and in minor surgery. The most commonly encountered lidocaine preparations are marketed by Abraxis Pharmaceutical Products under the brand names Xylocaine and Xylocard, and as 'Lanacane' topical ointment in the UK, though lidocaine is also found in many other proprietary preparations.


Lidocaine, the first amino amide-type local anesthetic, was first synthesised under the name xylocaine by Nils Löfgren in 1943.[1] His colleague Bengt Lundqvist made the first injection anesthesia experiments on himself.[1]It was first marketed in 1948.


Lidocaine has a more rapid onset of action and longer duration of action than amino ester-type local anesthetics such as procaine. It is approximately 90% metabolized in the liver by CYP1A2 (and to a minor extent CYP3A4) to the pharmacologically-active metabolites monoethylglycinexylidide and glycinexylidide.

The elimination half-life of lidocaine is approximately 1.5–2 hours in most patients. This may be prolonged in patients with hepatic impairment (average 343 minutes) or congestive heart failure (average 136 minutes). (Thomson et al., 1973)



Lidocaine alters depolarization in neurons, by blocking the fast voltage gated sodium (Na+) channels in the cell membrane. With sufficient blockade, the membrane of the presynaptic neuron will not depolarize and so fail to transmit an action potential, leading to its anesthetic effects. Careful titration allows for a high degree of selectivity in the blockage of sensory neurons, whereas higher concentrations will also affect other modalities of neuron signalling.

Clinical use


Indications for the use of lidocaine include:

Topical lidocaine has been shown to relieve postherpetic neuralgia in some patients, although there is not enough study evidence to recommend it as a first-line treatment. (Khaliq et al., 2007)


Contraindications for the use of lidocaine include:

Adverse drug reactions

Adverse drug reactions (ADRs) are rare when lidocaine is used as a local anesthetic and is administered correctly. Most ADRs associated with lidocaine for anesthesia relate to administration technique (resulting in systemic exposure) or pharmacological effects of anesthesia, but allergic reactions can rarely occur.

Systemic exposure to excessive quantities of lidocaine mainly result in central nervous system (CNS) and cardiovascular effects – CNS effects usually occur at lower blood plasma concentrations and additional cardiovascular effects present at higher concentrations, though cardiovascular collapse may also occur with low concentrations. CNS effects may include CNS excitation (nervousness, tingling around the mouth, tinnitus, tremor, dizziness, blurred vision, seizures) followed by depression (drowsiness, loss of consciousness, respiratory depression and apnea). Cardiovascular effects include hypotension, bradycardia, arrhythmias, and/or cardiac arrest – some of which may be due to hypoxemia secondary to respiratory depression. (Rossi, 2006)

ADRs associated with the use of intravenous lidocaine are similar to toxic effects from systemic exposure above. These are dose-related and more frequent at high infusion rates (≥3 mg/minute). Common ADRs include: headache, dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, visual disturbances, tinnitus, tremor, and/or paraesthesia. Infrequent ADRs associated with the use of lidocaine include: hypotension, bradycardia, arrhythmias, cardiac arrest, muscle twitching, seizures, coma, and/or respiratory depression. (Rossi, 2006)

Dosage forms

Lidocaine, usually in the form of lidocaine hydrochloride, is available in various forms including:

  • Injected local anesthetic (sometimes combined with epinephrine)
  • Dermal patch (sometimes combined with prilocaine)
  • Intravenous injection (sometimes combined with epinephrine)
  • Intravenous infusion
  • Nasal instillation/spray (combined with phenylephrine)
  • Oral gel (often referred to as "viscous lidocaine" or abbreviated "lidocaine visc" or "lidocaine hcl visc" in pharmacology; used as teething gel)
  • Oral liquid
  • Topical gel (as with Aloe Vera gels that include Lidocaine)
  • Topical liquid
  • Topical patch (Lidocaine 5% patch is marketed as "Lidoderm" in the US (since 1999) and "Versatis" in the UK (since 2007 by Grünenthal))

Additive in cocaine

Lidocaine is often added to cocaine as a diluent. Cocaine numbs the gums when applied, and since lidocaine causes stronger gingival numbness, customers get the impression of high-quality cocaine when checking the purity this way even if the substance is of poor quality. Usage of lidocaine-diluted cocaine is dangerous due to the potential side effects of lidocaine including causing cardiac arrhythmias.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Nils Löfgren (1948). Xylocaine: a new synthetic drug. Unknown parameter |note= ignored (help); Unknown parameter |address= ignored (|location= suggested) (help)

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