Local anaesthetic

Definition

noun, plural: local anaesthetics

(pharmacology) An agent administered into a small region of the body in order to produce a local reversible numbness and/or loss of pain sensation


Supplement

Anaesthetics are agents that are used to induce anaesthesia. They are causing reversible loss of sensation and also capable of providing relief from or prevention of pain (analgesic effect). Thus, they are often used to facilitate surgery. There are two major categories of anaesthetics: (1) general anaesthetics and (2) local anaesthetics. General anaesthetics are drugs that produce loss of sensation associated with loss of consciousness. Local anaesthetics, in contrast, result in a small region of anaesthesia particularly at the region of the tissue wherein the anaesthetic is injected into.

Local anaesthetics are usually named with –caine at the end and are grouped into ester- or amide-based. Examples of ester-based local anaesthetics are procaine, amethocaine, benzocaine, tetracaine, etc.) Local anaesthetics that are amide-based include lidocaine, prilocaine, bupivicaine, levobupivacaine, ropivacaine, mepivacaine, dibucaine, etc.

These drugs block the transmission of nerve impulses but not to point of causing unconsciousness. When used on specific nerve pathways they can cause local paralysis apart from producing analgesia. Topical anaesthesia is one of the many techniques in which local anaesthetics are used. They are used to manage acute and chronic pain as well as in surgeries.


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