Methemoglobinemia is a recognized complication that results due to use of topical anesthetics. However, the risk of the problem with different topical anesthetics is largely unknown.
Methemoglobinemia is a serious and potentially fatal condition, which can starve the body’s tissues of oxygen. This condition occurs when benzocaine products are used in the form of sprays or over-the-counter liquids or gels as pain relievers.
What exactly is Methemoglobinemia?
Methemoglobinemia is a condition where the amounts of oxygen carried via the blood stream is reduced to a great extent.
In severe cases, Methemoglobinemia can even result in death.
Adverse reactions of Methemoglobinemia include pale grey or blue colored lips, nails and skin, headache, rapid heartbeats, fatigue, shortness of breath, etc.
How Is Methemoglobinemia Related To Topical Anesthetics?
Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that is commonly used as a topical pain reliever. It can be found in throat sprays, cough drops, gels and liquids, etc..
However, you need to be extremely careful with the use of these products as Methemoglobinemia is a potential, life threatening side-effect of Benzocaine.
Signs and symptoms of Methemoglobinemia can occur within minutes or take up to two hours after using Benzocaine anesthetic products.
Lidocaine vs Benzocaine
In case you’re already suffering from Methemoglobinemia, it is advisable to refrain from the use of numbing creams.
In case, you really need to use a numbing cream, prefer using small quantities of numbing cream that contains safest concentration of Lidocaine as approved by FDA as its active ingredient in place of Benzocaine.
Dr. Numb ® is the widely recommended skin numbing cream that contains FDA approved amount of Lidocaine (5%). This cream is effective in decreasing the pain associated with painful skin needling procedures.
In addition, use of limited quantities of Dr. Numb ® does not put you at an increased risk of developing Methemoglobinemia.