You may have heard of several topical anesthetics, including topical numbing creams and ointments. However, what exactly is the purpose of a topical anesthetic? In this article, we’ll look at some of the most common uses of these medicines, including easing the pain on surface body parts, preventing emotional distress, and inhibiting nerve impulses.
Relieves pain from surface body parts:
A topical anesthetic is a substance that can be applied to the skin to relieve pain and discomfort associated with various medical conditions. It temporarily dulls the sensation in various body parts, including the skin, eyes, mouth, nose, ears, throat, and genitals. The effects of a topical anesthetic may last for several hours, depending on its dosage. It may be applied repeatedly to ensure a lasting effect.
A topical anesthetic is typically a cream or jelly that numbs the affected area. It is similar to cocaine, which was initially recognized as a topical anesthetic in the early 1900s. The ingredients in these anesthetics block nerve impulses that carry pain messages to the brain. Common twenty-first-century topical anesthetics are lidocaine, benzocaine, and prilocaine. These drugs are available in cream, jelly, and spray form.
Prevents emotional distress:
In patients undergoing cosmetic surgery, using a topical anesthetic can reduce emotional distress. A recent review evaluated the effectiveness of topical and local anesthesia agents. Both topical and local anesthetics have similar antiemetic properties, and both agents can reduce emotional distress. But what about the safety of the anesthetics when applied directly to the skin?
Aside from being safe, topical anesthetics can also reduce pain and other symptoms associated with the procedure. While these drugs have been around since the 1980s, the development of novel techniques to apply the anesthetic has continued to evolve.
Inhibits transmission of nerve impulses:
Local anesthetics block the conduction of nerve impulses by blocking the sodium channels in the intracellular membrane of the nerve cells. Na+ and potassium in the cells are responsible for maintaining the intracellular electric potential, which is negative relative to the extracellular space. Sodium depolarizes the membrane and propagates an impulse. Local anesthetics can inhibit nerve impulses by blocking Na+ channels. However, they do not affect the central nervous system or alter the patient’s mental status.