Do you have a fear of needles or of the pain that comes with cosmetic, medical or dental procedures? You are not alone.

For many patients, these fears can lead to anxiety and discomfort. But it doesn’t have to be this way: Application of topical skin numbing formulations before or in place of an injection can help relieve anxiety, minimize pain and improve your experience.

Skin numbing formulations are topical anesthetics that block nerve signals in the body and decrease pain sensations. They are prescribed by your doctor and compounded by your local compounding pharmacy. Prior to a procedure, the compounded formulation can be easily applied directly to the area that needs to be numbed. Typically, they are applied in the office by a trained medical professional. Common procedures that topical numbing formulations can be utilized for include dental cleanings and cosmetic procedures such as hair removal, repeat infusions, tattoo removal, and laser treatments.

Lidocaine is the most common ingredient that is found in these compounded numbing formulations. However, it is common practice to combine multiple anesthetics such as lidocaine, benzocaine and tetracaine or lidocaine and prilocaine. Doctors task compounding pharmacies to use their knowledge and expertise to formulate these topical numbing formulations. Careful selection and customization of the strengths of topical anesthetics as well as the appropriate cream, gel or ointment base allows the physician to personalize the therapy to obtain the best possible patient response.

For patients interested in decreasing or eliminating pain for a variety of procedures, it is best to contact your physician or dentist to request a topical numbing formulation. They will determine what one is appropriate and direct you to a compounding pharmacy that meets or exceeds the highest level of prescription compounding standards to fill your prescription.

By Ranel Larsen, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist at PCCA


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