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, Hurricaine, Mandelay Maximum Strength, Medicone Maximum Strength, Outgro

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

How to Use This Medicine

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

  • 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. Unless directed by your doctor, do not apply this medicine to open wounds, burns, broken or inflamed skin, or to a large area of skin.
  • Do not get this medicine in your eyes. If the medicine does get in your eyes, wash your eyes with water right away.
  • Follow the instructions on the medicine label if you are using this medicine without a prescription.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before and after you use this medicine.
  • Hold the aerosol spray 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.
  • Apply a thin layer of the cream or ointment to the affected area. Rub it in gently.
  • To use the 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 try to peel off the film coating. The film coating should stay on your skin until it falls off without your help. If you must remove the film coating, first apply another coat of gel, and then wipe the skin area with a damp gauze pad or tissue.
  • If you are using the gel or liquid form:
    • Use the gel or liquid only when needed, but not for more than four times a day.
    • Instead of using this medicine, give your child a chilled teething ring, or gently rub or massage your child's gums with your finger to relieve symptoms of teething pain.
  • To use the pad (wipe) or swab, open the package according to the directions. When treating a bee sting, remove the stinger before using the medicine. Wipe the pad or swab across the affected skin area.
  • Ask your doctor if you should cover your treated skin with a bandage. If you do this, be sure to let the medicine dry before putting the bandage on.
  • Do not inhale the aerosol spray or use it near heat, open flame, or while smoking. Do not puncture, break, or burn the aerosol can.
  • Do not use this medicine for longer than 1 week, unless your doctor tells you to.

If a dose is missed:

  • 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.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • 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.
  • Ask your pharmacist or doctor how to dispose of the medicine container and any leftover or expired medicine.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

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

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are taking medicines containing nitrates or nitrites. This includes nitroglycerin, Imdur®, Isordil®, Nitro-Bid®, Nitrostat®, or Transderm-Nitro®.
  • Do not put cosmetics or skin care products on the treated skin.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have anemia, heart disease, lung or breathing problems (such as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema), or any blood disease (such as glucose-6-phosphodiesterase deficiency).
  • If your or your child's symptoms get worse or do not improve within 7 days, call your doctor. If your symptoms get better and then come back, call your doctor.
  • Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 2 years of age, unless your child's doctor has told you to.
  • Using too much of this medicine or using it on a large part of your skin can cause serious side effects. Stop using this medicine and contact your doctor right away if you or your child have any of these symptoms: lightheadedness, dizziness, vision problems, irregular or slow heartbeat, difficulty with breathing, or seizures.
  • 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. The risk may be increased in infants younger than 4 months of age, elderly patients, or patients with certain inborn defects. It has occurred when patients receive too much of the medicine, but can also occur with small amounts. Make sure you store this medicine out of reach of children. Instead of using this medicine, talk with your pediatrician about different ways to treat teething. Call your doctor right away if you or your child has the following symptoms after receiving this medicine: pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nails; confusion; headache; lightheadedness; fast heartbeat; shortness of breath; or unusual tiredness or weakness.
  • Do not use this medicine to treat a skin problem your doctor has not examined.

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
  • Blue color around your mouth, or blue fingers or toes.
  • Confusion, headache, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, or fast heartbeat.
  • Fast breathing.
  • Irritability, fainting, difficulty with walking, or unusual drowsiness.
  • 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

Version Info

  • Last reviewed on 8/4/2014

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