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Lidocaine (Topical)

Brand Names

In the U.S.-

  • Lidoderm


  • Anesthetic, local


Lidocaine ( LYE-doe-kane) belongs to the family of medicines called local anesthetics (an-ess-THET-iks) . When lidocaine is applied to the skin, it produces pain relief by blocking the signals at the nerve endings in the skin. Lidocaine topical systems are used to relieve pain and discomfort associated with herpes zoster virus infection of the skin (shingles).

Lidocaine is available only with your doctor's prescription, in the following dosage form(s):

  • Topical system (U.S.)

Before Using This Medicine

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For lidocaine, the following should be considered:

Allergies- Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to lidocaine or other local anesthetics given by injection or applied to any part of the body as a liquid, cream, ointment, or spray. Also tell your health care professional if you are allergic to any other substances, such as foods, preservatives, or dyes.

Pregnancy- Lidocaine has not been studied in pregnant women. However, lidocaine has not been shown to cause birth defects or other problems in animal studies.

Breast-feeding- Small amounts of lidocaine pass into breast milk. Many medicines that pass into breast milk in small amounts may be used safely while breast-feeding. Mothers who are using this medicine and who wish to breast-feed should discuss this with their doctor.

Children- Studies on this medicine have been done only in adult patients, and there is no specific information comparing use of lidocaine topical systems in children with use in other age groups.

Older adults- Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of lidocaine topical systems in the elderly with use in other age groups.

Other medicines- Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are using lidocaine topical systems, it is especially important that your health care professional know if you are taking or using any other prescription or nonprescription medicine.

Other medical problems- The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of lidocaine topical systems. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
  • Broken or inflamed skin, burns, or open wounds at the place of application-More of this medicine can be absorbed into the body quickly, which increases the chance of side effects
  • Liver disease (severe)-The risk of side effects may be increased because of slower removal of lidocaine from the body

Proper Use of This Medicine

Unless otherwise directed by your health care professional, do not apply this medicine to open wounds, burns or broken or inflamed skin.

Be careful not to get any of this medicine in your eyes, because it can cause severe eye irritation. If any of the medicine does get into your eye, immediately wash out the eye with water and protect the eye until sensation returns. Check with your doctor.

Use only as directed by your health care professional; avoid applying more than the recommended number of topical systems or using the topical systems for longer than the recommended wearing time.

Clothing may be worn over the area of application.


The dose of lidocaine topical systems will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of lidocaine topical systems. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

For relieving pain caused by herpes zoster virus infection of the skin (shingles) in adult patients-Remove release liner and apply topical system to skin, covering the most painful area(s). Apply no more than 3 systems at one time and do not leave on for longer than twelve hours within a twenty****“four hour period. Topical systems may be cut into smaller sizes with scissors prior to removal of the release liner.


To store this medicine:

  • Keep out of the reach of children.
  • Keep envelope sealed at all times when not in use.
  • Store away from heat.
  • Keep the medicine from freezing. Do not refrigerate.
  • Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded medicine is out of the reach of children and pets.

Precautions While Using This Medicine

If irritation or a burning sensation occurs during application, remove the system(s) and do not reapply until the irritation subsides.

Wash hands after handling systems.

Avoid contact with eyes.

Store and dispose of topical systems out of the reach of children and pets. Chewing or ingesting new or used topical systems could result in serious adverse effects.

Side Effects of This Medicine

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Get emergency help immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

  • Symptoms of allergic reaction
    • Rare
      • Cough;  difficulty swallowing or tongue swelling;  dizziness or fainting;  hives or swelling of eyelids, face or lips;  itching or skin rash;  stuffy nose;  chest tightness, shortness of breath, troubled breathing, or wheezing 

  • Signs of too much medicine being absorbed into the body
    • Rare
      • Blurred or double vision;  confusion ;  dizziness, light-headedness or drowsiness;  feeling hot, cold, or numb;  muscle twitching or trembling;  nausea or vomiting;  ringing or buzzing in the ears;  shortness of breath or trouble breathing;  unusual excitement, nervousness, or restlessness;  unusual tiredness or weakness 

      The above side effects are not likely to occur when usual amounts of this medicine are used properly. However, they may occur if the medicine is used too often, applied to broken or inflamed skin, applied to very large areas, or kept on the skin too long.

Other side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, check with your doctor if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome:

  • More common
    • Rash, hives, swelling, or abnormal sensation at the site of application  

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT