Benzocaine is an FDA approved over-the-counter (OTC) local anesthetic (numbing medication) sold under multiple brand names like Orajel, Anbesol, Chloraseptic, Lanacane, Americaine, and more. It is used to lessen the pain, itching or discomfort caused due to sore throat, sore gums, cold sores, mouth ulcers, vaginal or rectal irritation and burning, anal fissures, hemorrhoids, ingrown toenails, insect bites, minor burns, scrapes, small cuts or scratches. This topical analgesic works by inhibiting nerve signals in the body, resulting in loss of feeling in the skin or temporary numbness. It doesn't cause unconsciousness, unlike other anesthetics. This OTC anesthetic is available in the market in the form of an ointment, spray, gel/jelly, solution, and liquid.
What You Must Know About Benzocaine Analgesic
Benzocaine is a topical analgesic that should be used only on the surface of a body or in the mouth, but it is quite harmful when swallowed. An overdose of this analgesic can cause devastating side-effects or life-threatening condition in which the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is significantly reduced. This condition is commonly known as methemoglobinemia, and it can happen after only one usage of this medication or after multiple uses. The common symptoms of methemoglobinemia include fast heart rate, headache, shortness of breath, feeling tired, etc. If you ever had methemoglobinemia in the past, it's wise to avoid using this medication. Also, this OTC anesthetic should not be used to cure teething pain in infants, newborns, and children below two years. Instead, you can try some other safe over-the-counter pain (OTC) relievers, such as Ibuprofen to lessen teething discomfort, but make sure you are using the right amount of dosage according to your baby's weight and doctor's instructions.
Ways to Use Topical Benzocaine Analgesic?
If you are using this OTC medicine to self-treat, it's strongly advised to read all the instructions carefully for safe and useful applications. Follow the directions carefully written on the outer package label of the product. You can also consult your pharmacist or doctor in case of any doubt or question.
Apply a layer of Benzocaine on the clean and dry skin to treat minor skin problems. If Benzocaine is in the spray form, gently shake it before use. Keep the bottle 5-10 inches away from the skin and don't spray directly on the affected area. Instead, you should spray it on your hands and apply it onto the affected area, avoiding your eyes, mouth, and nose. If the medication gets in contact with these body parts, wash them outrightly with fresh water. Also, after applying the medication, you should clean your hands unless you're treating your hands. The dosage of your medication depends upon your medical condition and how the affected area is responding to treatment. If the situation remains the same or gets worse, you may have a severe medical problem and need expert help immediately.
The thing that needs to be kept in mind is to not use this topical analgesic to treat deep puncture wounds or large skin areas. Besides, don't use this medication on the blistered or raw skin in the condition of abrasion or severe burn.
Side Effects of Using Topical Benzocaine Analgesic
Benzocaine, a topical analgesic is non-toxic when applied as directed by your doctor or pharmacist. However, overapplication of this numbing medication or when spraying these oral anesthetics in high concentration may cause trouble breathing, irritation, stinging, temporary redness, dizziness, swelling of your face, tongue, throat or lips, and many other life-threatening adverse effects. If any of these symptoms last longer or get worse, immediately seek consultation from your doctor or pharmacist.
Many people are allergic to the active ingredient and may develop a reaction when using a local anesthetic, such as Benzocaine. In such a case, it's advised to stop using the medication and immediately seek help from your health care provider or the national poison control helpline number.
When You Should Stop Using Benzocaine and Seek Consultation From Doctor
If you are allergic to local anesthetics or caine anesthetics like Butacaine, Procaine, or Benzocaine, you should consider stopping taking the medication with Benzocaine.
Mouth and Throat Pain
If you have a toothache that hasn't improved in seven days after using Benzocaine oral analgesic, or your pain, irritation or redness worsens over time, you should immediately consider consulting a doctor. Another serious condition when you should consult your doctor or a pharmacist is when your sore throat lasts for more than two days and is accompanied by vomiting, nausea, or high fever. If you experience swelling of the face, mouth, tongue, or throat after using Benzocaine medication, immediately seek help from your physician.
If you have hemorrhoid and the condition does not improve or becomes worse in seven days after using Benzocaine analgesic, you need to consult your doctor or pharmacist. Also, when rectal bleeding begins during a hemorrhoid treatment, you should stop using the medication. It is important to note that hemorrhoid medications containing Benzocaine are meant for using externally. If swallowed accidentally, immediately seek consultation from your doctor over the phone or visit the clinic. You can also consider consultation if the symptoms do not improve or if the pain, irritation, redness, or swelling increases.
External Vaginal Itching
If you have a vaginal infection with itching, irritation, or burning sensation even after using Benzocaine contained medication after seven days, you should immediately consult your gynecologist. The vaginal medications that contain Benzocaine analgesic are meant for external use only. If swallowed, rush to your doctor clinic or seek consultation over the phone. You can also seek help from the national poison control helpline number, 800-222-1222
If you have minor skin irritation, skin infection or burn and have used topical Benzocaine analgesic and your condition does not improve or gets worse in seven days, you should immediately stop using the medication and seek advice from your doctor or pharmacist. Another important thing that you need to remember is that you don't swallow this medicine, as swallowing may cause more harm than good.
Note:Different types of medicines contain Benzocaine (an active ingredient) in different strengths. Thus, it's recommended to carefully read all the instructions and avoid using the medicine containing an active ingredient for more than 7-10 days. If the symptoms remain the same or get worse, immediately stop using it and seek consultation from a doctor or a pharmacist.
Precautions of Topical Benzocaine Analgesic
The FDA provides several precautions that one needs to consider when using the over-the-counter (OTC) local anesthetic. Before you start using this medication, tell your pharmacist or doctor about your medical history, particularly if you have asthma, emphysema, bronchitis or any other breathing problems, heart disease, an inherited enzyme deficiency, skin infections or other serious issues such as swelling, burning, skin irritation. Besides, you should also ask your doctor about using Benzocaine analgesic, if you are a regular smoker, pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Safety Tips for Using Mouth and Throat Pain Medications
- Don't use a medication containing Benzocaine to cure toothache for over seven days
- Don't use lozenges to cure a sore throat pain for over two days
- For children above two years of age should be given Benzocaine for treating toothache only under the supervision of parents or caretakers.
- For children below the age of 5 should not be given Benzocaine contained OTC throat lozenges.
Safety Tips for Using Burning and External Vaginal Itching Medications
- It's recommended not to use the Benzocaine contained vaginal medications to treat large parts of your body.
- Don't use this medication for children below 12 years of age before seeking consultation from a doctor or a pharmacist.
Safety Tips for Using Hemorrhoid Medicines
Hemorrhoid medicines containing Benzocaine are meant for use only on the external surface of the anus or lower rectum. Don't apply this medication inside the rectum.
For children below 12 years of age should not be given Benzocaine before seeking consultation from a doctor or a pharmacist.
Safety Tips for Using Skin Irritation and Itching Medications
Don't use skin itching and irritation medications containing Benzocaine on the significant parts of the body or near the eyes, mouth, and nose.
It is unknown whether topical Benzocaine analgesia is safe to use during pregnancy. So, it's better to avoid using it. If you want to use it during pregnancy, it's wise, seeking consultation from a doctor. You should also weigh the known benefits against the potential side-effects or risks before using this medication. This could be possible only when you have a discussion with your healthcare professional. Also, it is not known whether this topical analgesic is safe to use during breastfeeding. That's why nursing mothers should avoid using it on or near the nipples to prevent their newborn or infants from swallowing it since this local anesthetic is quite harmful when ingested. Always consult your doctor to know whether you can use this medication while breastfeeding. Furthermore, no adequate information is available to know whether this medication will have harmful side-effects in geriatric patients. Another essential precaution that you need to keep in mind is that you don't use this medication while smoking or standing near an open flame because Benzocaine is flammable.
The absorption of excess Benzocaine (numbing medication) into your blood through your skin can cause lethal side effects. An overdose of this medication is possible when using without seeking the advice of a doctor or a pharmacist (generally during a cosmetic procedure such as laser hair removal). It can also occur when you apply this medication on the large skin areas, broken skin, deep puncture wounds, or burn. To avoid the overdose of this medication, use the minimum amount as directed, and don't use it more than four times a day. Only a doctor or a pharmacist can tell you the right amount of dosage. In case of suspicion of overdose, immediately get in touch with your physician.
If you have sprayed Benzocaine oral analgesic in your mouth, you should avoid consuming food, drinks, or medicines for at least an hour. It is unlikely that the drugs you take orally will have an effect on Benzocaine analgesic, but there is a possibility of drugs interacting with each other anytime and may alter the way your medicine works or increases the risk of life-threatening medical conditions. For example, Prilocaine and Sodium Nitrite can interact with topical Benzocaine. So, it's wise limiting your consumption to certain foods, drinks, or medicines. If you can't avoid the use of other medications for an hour, you must discuss it with your doctor and tell him all the medicines you are consuming, and this includes prescription drugs, OTC medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal products. It is advised not to start consuming any new medicine, stop or change the dosage of any medication without informing your doctor or pharmacist.
It is crucial for you to know that the consumption of tobacco or alcohol with certain medicines may cause an interaction. If you are an alcoholic or a tobacco chewer, you should ask your healthcare professional whether you can continue your medications with alcohol and tobacco.
The dosage of Benzocaine medication will vary depending upon the patients and the severity of a medical problem. Follow your healthcare professional advice or the directions given on the outer package label. You will find the average dose that one should take on the outer label. However, if your symptoms are severe, your dosage would be different from what's written on the outer label. Consult your doctor to know the right dosage of your medication and don't change it unless you are told by your healthcare professional. Always remember that the amount of drugs that you need to take to treat a particular problem depends upon the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses that you should take in a day, the time gap between treatments, and the time duration till you need to continue your medication depending on the problem you have and the strength of the medicine.
For Itching and Pain Caused by Minor Skin Conditions:
Children under two years - dosage will be determined by your healthcare professional.
Teenagers, adults, and children above two years - apply this topical analgesic 3-4 times onto the affected area.
What If You Miss a Dose of Your Medication?
If you are using Benzocaine contained medication regularly and skip a dose of your medicine, you should use it immediately. However, you may skip the previous dose if the next dosage time is almost near and don’t apply extra medicine to meet that skipped dose.
Storage of Benzocaine Medication
It is advisable to keep the Benzocaine contained medicines in a closed airtight container at room temperature and keep it away from direct sunlight, heat or moisture. Do not freeze. Also, do not keep this medication inside your automobile, where it could be exposed to severe cold or heat. Furthermore, don't make holes in the bottle or tube and throw it into a fire after using it, since Benzocaine is flammable.
Keep it away from the reach of infants or children below the age of 5. Always ask your pharmacist or healthcare expert how you can dispose of any medication, particularly those having an active ingredient when you're not using it.
Benzocaine: FDA Safety Warnings
The U.S. Department of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning on 23 May 2018 that the use of Benzocaine in oral drug analgesics pose a severe condition to infants, newborn, and children under 2 years and provide little or zero benefits for healing oral pain, particularly sore gums in infants due to teething. The department has also urged drug manufacturers and marketers to stop producing and marketing OTC oral drug products to cure teething in infants, newborns, and children below two years. If the drug manufacturers and marketers do not conform, the department will initiate taking strict action and withdraw all the OTC oral drug products from the market. Not just this, FDA has instructed the companies that produce Benzocaine contained OTC oral drug analgesics for adults and children above two years to make the changes listed below on the outer package label of the product:
Write a Clear Warning About Methemoglobinemia
- Updating the instructions to caregivers and direct parents not to use this local anesthetic in younger children below two years and infants.
- Mention contraindications, which is FDA's strongest warnings informing caregivers and directing parents not to use this numbing medication for teething.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) department of the U.S. also said they would continue monitoring the effectiveness and safety of Benzocaine contained OTC oral drug products and will take more strict actions in the future if required. On 23 May, Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the FDA said that due to the serious safety concerns and lack of efficacy of Benzocaine oral drug products for teething pain, the FDA is taking steps to raise awareness of the risks associated with this medication.
In June 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued update warning parents and caregivers not to use Benzocaine products in children under two years due to the rising risk of a fatal condition called methemoglobinemia. This life-threatening condition can cause brain damage, tissue damage, and death. In 2006, the FDA issued a warning on methemoglobinemia for the first time alerting healthcare professionals about the use of Benzocaine OTC oral spray products during medical procedures. Since then, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received over 400 cases of methemoglobinemia of which 116 cases involved patients from 1 day to 85 years, 22 cases wherein patients were under 18 years of age and 11 instances in which patients were below two years.
How To File a Benzocaine Lawsuit Near Me?
A drug is meant to provide relief from a medical condition, and every drug has the potential to cause unwanted complications and life-threatening or life-altering side effects, even if it is approved by the FDA. That's why the testing of a drug should be done in small groups before it is introduced in the market for selling. Also, it's the duty of drug manufacturers to warn consumers about the potential risks associated with the drug. Unfortunately, many of them don't do that even if they are aware of the harm because they don't want to lose the opportunity of making money in the medication market, which is over 1 trillion dollars per year business.
It is appalling to know that due to insufficient lab testing and deceptive marketing tactics, drug manufacturers and marketers have cost thousands of patients risking their lives. As such, consumers should always weigh the benefits of a drug against the potential risks associated with it to make informed decisions about their health care.
If you or someone you love is severely injured by the local anesthetic, Benzocaine, you can seek consultation from an attorney to file a lawsuit against the drug manufacturers and distributors. Some people choose to fight the case on their own, but hiring a mass tort attorney is always considered a smart decision. Since mass tort litigation is different from other criminal lawsuits and cases against big pharma companies can be complicated and challenging. As such, victims should ensure that they have an experienced and competent attorney on their side to fight for their rights. An experienced attorney will determine your case, prepare a complaint draft, and negotiate a rightful compensation or take it to the bar council so that you can get the justice and claim settlement you deserve. Consumer Alert Now can help you connect with the best attorneys and medical experts to seek answers to your queries pertaining to the drug's fatal side effects, medical complications, life-threatening conditions, and other related lawsuits. Besides this, you will be educated by our experts on the potentially harmful pharmaceutical drugs like Benzocaine by providing comprehensive information on the side effects, other complications, and ways to initiate legal action against the drug manufacturer or a company. Give us a call today at 800-511-0747 to connect with our experts and get your case reviewed for free.