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Benzocaine (On the skin)

Benzocaine (BEN-zoe-kane)

Relieves pain and itching. Also used to numb your skin before a medical procedure. This medicine is a topical anesthetic.

Brand Name(s):

Americaine, Anacaine, Chigg Away, Chiggerex, Chiggertox, Mandelay Maximum Strength, Medicone Maximum Strength, Outgro

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

This medicine is not right for everyone. Do not use it if you had an allergic reaction to benzocaine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Cream, Gel/Jelly, Liquid, Ointment, Pad, Spray, Swab

  • This medicine is not for long-term use. Do not use this medicine for longer than directed by your doctor.
  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use, where to apply it, and how often to apply it. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to. Too much of this medicine or use on a large part of your skin can cause serious side effects.
  • Do not apply this medicine to open wounds, burns, broken or inflamed skin, or to a large area of skin unless directed by your doctor.
  • Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If the medicine does get in your eyes, wash your eyes with water right away.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine.
  • To use this medicine:
    • Gel: First dry the affected area as much as possible. Apply a thin layer of gel and wait 60 seconds while it dries into a smooth film coating. Do not peel off or remove the film coating. The coating will fall off on its own.
    • Pad or swab: Open the package according to the directions. When treating a bee sting, remove the stinger before you use the medicine. Wipe the pad or swab across the affected skin area.
    • Cream or ointment: Apply a thin layer to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
    • Aerosol spray: Hold the can 6 to 12 inches from the skin and spray for about 1 to 2 seconds. If you need to apply this medicine to your face, spray it in the palm of your hand and then wipe your hands on your face. Do not inhale the spray or use it near heat, open flame, or while smoking. Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol can.
  • Ask your doctor if you should cover your treated skin with a bandage. Let the medicine dry before you put the bandage on.
  • Missed dose: Apply a dose as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and apply a regular dose. Do not apply extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.
  • Store the aerosol spray at room temperature, away from heat or fire. Store the cream, gel, liquid, or ointment at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

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

  • Some medicines can affect how benzocaine works. Tell your doctor if you are taking medicines containing nitrates or nitrites, such as nitroglycerin.
  • Do not put cosmetics or skin care products on the treated skin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have heart disease, lung or breathing problems (such as asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema), or any blood disease.
  • Call your doctor if your symptoms get worse or do not improve within 7 days, or get better and then come back.
  • Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 2 years, unless directed by a doctor.
  • This medicine may cause a rare but serious blood problem called methemoglobinemia. This condition may occur after use of the spray for medical procedures or use of the over-the-counter gel or liquid for mouth sores or teething in children.
  • Do not use this medicine to treat a skin problem your doctor has not examined.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

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
  • Confusion, headache, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or fast heartbeat
  • Fast breathing
  • Irritability, fainting, difficulty walking, or unusual drowsiness
  • Pale, gray, or blue skin, lips, or nails
  • Redness, pain, or swelling where the medicine is applied
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

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: 12/4/2014


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