Health Guide

Lidocaine/tetracaine (On the skin)

Lidocaine (LYE-doe-kane), Tetracaine (TE-tra-kane)

Numbs a small area of skin to reduce pain when the skin has to be cut during a minor procedure.

Brand Name(s):

Pliaglis, Synera, lidocaine-tetracaine

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

You should not receive this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to lidocaine, tetracaine, or any other numbing medicines (such as lidocaine, procaine, Carbocaine®, Marcaine®, Novacaine®, or Sensorcaine®).

How to Use This Medicine:

Cream, Patch

  • A nurse or other trained health professional will give you this medicine.
  • The patch is applied to your skin about 20 to 30 minutes before your procedure. Do not cover the vent holes in the top of the skin patch while you are wearing it. Tell your doctor if you still have feeling in the skin after 30 minutes have passed.
  • Use this medicine only on your skin. Rinse it off right away if it gets on a cut or scrape. Do not get the medicine in your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Do not apply this medicine to a large area of skin, or to broken or irritated skin.
  • Do not cover the treated area with a bandage unless directed by your doctor.
  • Do not cut the patch or tear it apart in any way. This could cause medicine to leak out of the patch and burn your skin.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Tell your doctor if you use a heart rhythm medicine such as mexiletine (Mexitil®) or tocainide (Tonocard®).

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have liver disease.
  • Tell your doctor if you have had breathing problems caused by general anesthesia during a surgery.
  • It is very important to check with your doctor first about using this medicine before having medical tests to examine your breasts or other medical procedures. Using this medicine before having a medical test for your breasts or before having certain other medical procedures may increase your risk of serious side effects.
  • You may not have feeling in your treated skin areas for several hours after using the skin patch. Be careful not to accidentally injure the skin by scratching or rubbing it while it is still numb. Avoid exposing the skin to very hot or cold temperatures until your feeling returns.
  • If you need to have an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan, the skin patch must be removed before your scan.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Burning where the patch is applied.
  • Confusion, blurred vision.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Seizures.
  • Shallow or difficulty breathing.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Blistering, redness, swelling, or irritation where the skin patch was placed.
  • Changes in skin color where the skin patch was placed.
  • Feeling a hot or cold sensation where the skin patch is applied.
  • Headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or ringing in your ears.
  • Nausea or vomiting.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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