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Side Effects
Serious

Skin: Severe allergic reaction, producing large, red, hive-like swellings on the skin. Dental use: Large swellings in the mouth or throat. Call your doctor immediately.
Common

No common side effects are associated with the skin product or the dental product.
Less Common

Contact dermatitis (skin irritation), causing mild burning, stinging, swelling, itching, redness, or tenderness not present before treatment; hives in or around the mouth.
Benzocaine


Drug Class:
Anesthetic

Available OTC?: Yes

Available Generic?: No

Available In
Why Prescribed
How It Works
Range and Frequency
Onset of Effect
Duration of Action
Dietary Advice
Storage
Missed Dose
Stopping the Drug
Prolonged Use
Over 60
Driving and Hazardous Work
Alcohol
Pregnancy
Breast Feeding
Infants and Children
Special Concerns
Overdose Symptoms
What to Do
Drug Interactions
Food Interactions
Disease Interactions


Available In
Cream, ointment, aerosol spray, dental paste, lozenges, solution

Why Prescribed
To relieve minor pain and itching of the skin caused by mild burns, bites, cuts, abrasions, and contact dermatitis (skin inflammation caused by contact with an irritant such as poison ivy, or by an allergic response to certain metals or other substances). Dental forms of benzocaine are used to treat pain caused by toothache, teething, cold sores, canker sores, dentures, or other dental appliances.

How It Works
Benzocaine interferes with the ability of certain nerves to conduct electrical signals, which blocks the transmission of nerve impulses that carry pain messages.

Range and Frequency
Skin cream, ointment, aerosol spray: Apply to affected area 3 or 4 times a day as needed. Dental paste: Apply as needed. Lozenges: 1 lozenge dissolved in the mouth every 2 hours as needed. Aerosol dental solution: 1 or 2 sprays of at least 1 second each, taken as needed.

Onset of Effect
Within minutes.

Duration of Action
Unknown.

Dietary Advice
Forms applied to skin: Can be taken without regard to diet. Oral and dental forms: Do not eat or drink anything for 1 hour after using medicine.

Storage
Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

Missed Dose
Take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and resume your regular dosage schedule. Do not double the next dose.

Stopping the Drug
It is advisable to take the medication as prescribed for the full treatment period. However, you may stop taking the drug before the scheduled end of therapy if you are feeling better.

Prolonged Use
For skin pain or discomfort: Check with your doctor if the condition does not improve within 7 days. For dental pain: If used temporarily for a toothache, arrange for proper dental treatment as soon as possible. For sore throat: Check with your doctor if pain lasts more than 2 days.

Over 60
Skin: No information is available. Dental use: Adverse reactions may be more likely and more severe in older patients.

Driving and Hazardous Work
No special precautions are necessary.

Alcohol
No special precautions are necessary.

Pregnancy
Benzocaine has not been reported to cause problems in pregnancy.

Breast Feeding
No problems are expected.

Infants and Children
Dental paste can be used in teething babies 4 months and older. Use of other forms of benzocaine is not recommended for children under 2 unless prescribed by your doctor.

Special Concerns
Do not swallow the dental form unless your doctor has instructed you to do so.

Overdose Symptoms
Both skin and dental forms: Blurred or double vision; confusion; convulsions; dizziness or lightheadedness; drowsiness; feeling hot, cold, or numb; headache; increased sweating; ringing or buzzing in ears; shivering or trembling; slow or irregular heartbeat; trouble breathing; anxiety, nervousness, or restlessness; pale skin; unusual fatigue.

What to Do
Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions
With dental benzocaine, consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking cholinesterase inhibitors or sulfonamides.

Food Interactions
No known food interactions.

Disease Interactions
Consult your doctor if you have any other condition affecting the mouth or skin.

Date Published: 04/13/2005
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