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Lidocaine topical patch side effects: A detailed guide

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More common side effectsMild side effectsSerious side effectsFAQSide effects in detailWarningsAsk your doctor
Lidocaine topical patch is prescribed for nerve pain from certain conditions in adults. It’s a local anesthetic drug that may cause mild or serious side effects. These include application site reactions such as skin burning and irritation.
Medically reviewed by Molly Becze, PharmD, BCPS
Updated on November 28, 2023

This article describes possible side effects of lidocaine topical patch. You can explore this overview article to learn more about lidocaine, including the drug’s uses, side effects, and more.

Lidocaine topical patch is a generic medication. It isn’t available in a brand-name version. Lidocaine also comes in an injection form, other topical forms, and oral forms. But this article doesn’t describe those forms. To learn more about those forms, talk with your doctor.

More common side effects of lidocaine

Lidocaine topical patch may cause mild or serious side effects.

Commonly reported side effects of lidocaine topical patch include application site reactions. To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of lidocaine in detail” section below.

Mild side effects of lidocaine

Lidocaine may cause certain mild side effects. Most often, mild side effects are temporary and can be easily managed. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome.

Mild side effects of lidocaine topical patch that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of lidocaine in detail” section below.

Lidocaine topical patch may cause more mild side effects than those listed above. For details, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects of lidocaine

Lidocaine may cause certain serious side effects. If you have any serious side effects from lidocaine topical patch, call your doctor right away. But if you think you’re having a medical emergency or your side effects feel life threatening, take immediate action. Call 911 or a local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room.

After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. Visit MedWatch’s website if you’d like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with lidocaine.

Serious side effects of lidocaine topical patch that occurred in studies include:

* To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effects of lidocaine in detail” section below.

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Common questions about side effects of lidocaine

Here are answers to some common questions about side effects of lidocaine topical patch. If you have other questions, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Is lidocaine safe for older adults?

Yes, it’s generally safe for older adults, provided that your doctor agrees it’s safe with your health conditions. Lidocaine isn’t known to cause side effects in older adults that differ from those in younger adults. (Older adults are ages 65 years and above.) Also, older adults using lidocaine topical patch don’t appear to be at an increased risk of side effects.

Talk with your doctor or pharmacist to learn more about your risk of side effects from lidocaine topical patch.

How long do side effects of lidocaine usually last?

Side effects of lidocaine don’t last long in most cases. Long-term side effects aren’t expected with lidocaine topical patch.

Usually, side effects from lidocaine topical patch are temporary. In most cases, they go away on their own within a few minutes or hours.

If you have side effects that don’t go away or become bothersome, let your doctor or pharmacist know. They can review your symptoms and suggest the best treatment. This might include stopping treatment with lidocaine topical patch.

Does lidocaine cause long-term side effects?

No, long-term side effects aren’t expected with lidocaine topical patch. In studies, people who had used the drug for a long time didn’t have any specific side effects. They also didn’t report any long lasting side effects after treatment ended.

Talk with your doctor if you have questions about possible long-term side effects with lidocaine.

Side effects of lidocaine in detail

Below you’ll find details on some of the side effects of lidocaine topical patch.

Application site reactions

In studies, application site reactions were common in people using lidocaine topical patch. These side effects usually are mild.

Application site reactions happen at or around the site where you apply lidocaine topical patch. Those reported with lidocaine topical patch include:

  • skin bruising
  • skin burning or itching
  • skin blisters, which may peel
  • skin redness or discoloration
  • other skin irritation

Ways to manage

Application site reactions caused by lidocaine topical patch usually go away within a few minutes or hours.

If you experience symptoms of application site reactions that don’t go away or become severe, tell your doctor. They’ll likely recommend stopping treatment with lidocaine topical patch. They can discuss other treatments for your condition with you.

Methemoglobinemia

Studies found that methemoglobinemia was rare in people using lidocaine topical patch. This side effect may be serious.

With methemoglobinemia, not enough oxygen is delivered to your body’s cells. It happens when your body produces too much methemoglobin instead of hemoglobin. (Hemoglobin is a protein that helps carry oxygen to your body’s cells. Methemoglobin also carries oxygen around the body. But unlike hemoglobin, methemoglobin doesn’t release oxygen to your cells.)

Symptoms may include:

  • skin that’s blue, gray, or lightened in color
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid heart rate
  • confusion or tiredness

Certain factors can raise the risk of methemoglobinemia with lidocaine topical patch. These include:

Ways to manage

Methemoglobinemia caused by a medication, such as lidocaine topical patch, is a medical emergency. If you think you have symptoms of this side effect, call 911 immediately or go to the closest emergency room.

If you develop methemoglobinemia while using lidocaine topical patch, your doctor will stop your treatment.

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Whole-body effects

In studies, whole-body effects were rare in people using lidocaine topical patch. These side effects may be serious.

Whole-body effects are possible if your body absorbs too much lidocaine from the patch. But when the patch is used as directed, this is unlikely.

Symptoms of whole-body effects reported with lidocaine topical patches include:

Certain factors can increase the risk of whole-body effects with lidocaine topical patch. These include:

  • wearing more patches than recommended by your doctor
  • wearing a lidocaine topical patch longer than directed by your doctor
  • exposing the patch to direct sunlight or another source of heat while wearing it
  • applying the patch to skin that’s cut, injured, or inflamed (hot)

Ways to manage

It’s important to apply lidocaine patches only to healthy, intact skin that has no cuts or other signs of injury or irritation.

Symptoms of whole-body effects caused by lidocaine can range from mild to life threatening. If your symptoms feel life threatening, call 911 immediately or go to the closest emergency room.

If you experience mild symptoms of whole-body effects, tell your doctor. They’ll likely recommend lowering your lidocaine dose or stopping treatment.

Allergic reaction

For some people, lidocaine topical patch can cause an allergic reaction.

Symptoms can be mild or serious, and they may include:

  • itchiness
  • skin rash
  • swelling under the skin, usually affecting eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of the mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)

Ways to manage

For mild allergic reaction symptoms, such as a mild rash, call your doctor right away. They may recommend treatments to help manage your symptoms. They’ll also let you know whether you should keep using the medication.

For severe allergic reaction symptoms, such as swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number right away. These symptoms require immediate medical care because they can become life threatening. If you’ve had a serious allergic reaction to lidocaine topical patch, your doctor may recommend using a different medication instead.

Warnings for lidocaine

Below are some factors you may want to discuss with your doctor before using lidocaine topical patch.

Warnings

It may not be safe for you to use lidocaine topical patch if you have specific health conditions. These are sometimes called drug-condition interactions. Other things may also affect whether lidocaine topical patch is a safe treatment option for you.

Before using lidocaine topical patch, tell your doctor about your health and medications you take. Things to consider include:

Storing and disposing of lidocaine

Children and pets could have serious adverse effects if they chew or ingest a new or used lidocaine patch. A lidocaine patch that has been used still contains a large amount of the drug. It’s important to store unused lidocaine patch in a sealed envelope out of the reach of children and pets.

Dispose of used lidocaine patch in a place that’s secured and out of reach by children and pets.

Lidocaine and pregnancy

It’s not known whether lidocaine topical patch should be used during pregnancy. If you’re planning a pregnancy or can become pregnant, talk with your doctor before using this medication.

Lidocaine and breastfeeding

It’s not known whether lidocaine topical patch should be used while breastfeeding. If you’re currently breastfeeding or planning to do so, talk with your doctor before using this medication.

Lidocaine and alcohol

Lidocaine topical patch is not known to interact with alcohol.

If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about whether it’s safe to consume it during your treatment with lidocaine topical patch.

What to ask your doctor

This article describes common and serious side effects of lidocaine topical patch. If your doctor prescribes this medication, they can discuss possible side effects with you. Let your doctor know if you have concerns or questions about treatment with this medication.

Here’s a list of some possible questions you may want to ask your doctor:

  • Is my risk of side effects from lidocaine topical patch higher due to my medical history?
  • Does my risk of side effects from lidocaine topical patch vary based on my dosage?
  • Is my risk of application site reactions from lidocaine topical patch higher when I first start treatment?

Disclaimer: Optum Perks has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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