Comparison of topical anesthetics without cocaine to tetracaine-adrenaline-cocaine and lidocaine infiltration during repair of lacerations: bupivacaine-norepinephrine is an effective new topical anesthetic agent
Smith GA, Strausbaugh SD, Harbeck-Weber C,
Shields BJ, Powers JD, Hackenberg D.
Department of Pediatrics,
The Ohio State University College of Medicine,
The Ohio State University,
Columbus, OH, USA.
Pediatrics. 1996 Mar;97(3):301-7


OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of four topical anesthetics that do not contain cocaine with that of topical tetracaine-addrenaline-cocaine (TAC) and lidocaine infiltration during laceration repair in children. DESIGN: This was a randomized, blinded trial. SETTING: The study was conducted in the emergency department of a large children's hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Subjects were children 2 years of age or older with a laceration 5 cm or less in length that required sururing. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of four noncocaine-containing topical anesthetics, topical TAC, or lidocaine infiltration anesthesia before laceration repair. OUTCOME MEASURES: Outcome measures assessed pain perceptions using a Visual Analogue Scale, Likert scale, and Anethetic Effectiveness scale. Distress behaviors of patients were measured with the Restrained Infants and Children Distress Rating Scale. RESULTS: Two hundred forty patients were enrolled in the study. Using alpha = 0.05 and beta = 0.2, there was statistical power to detect differences of 0.3 to 1.3 U for the outcome measures used. The bupivacaine-norepinephrine topical solution (Bupivanor) performed better than the other three new topical preparations. It provided effective wound anesthesia during lacertion repair, especially for lacerations of the face and scalp, where it was consistently rated as effective as TAC and 1% lidocaine infiltration by all observer groups for all outcome measures. There was a 4% overall wound complication, including one wound infection. CONCLUSION: Bupivanor is an effective alternative to TAC and lidocaine infiltration for local anesthesia during laceration repair, expecially on the face and scalp. The effectiveness of Bupivanor on the face is important, because it is here where TAC is most likely inadvertently to come into contact with mucous membranes and result in systemic toxicity. Because pain and distress scores did not take into consideration the pain associated with the initial injection of lidocaine, the findings of this study conservatively estimate Bupivanor's effectiveness, compared with lidocaine infiltration.

Karl Koller and cocaine
Local anaesthesia: from cocaine to ropivacaine
Tetracaine-adrenaline-cocaine (TAC) compared

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