What is a Lidocaine Injection?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2019
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A lidocaine injection is a shot of the medication called lidocaine. This is used in many basic medical procedures to produce numbness for a short period of time. It might be employed by some dentists, and definitely can be used in doctor’s offices or at hospitals to numb an area that is injured or that requires minor surgical manipulation. Other uses of lidocaine can exist, including its injection or intravenous infusion to address heart arrhythmias or seizure. Alternately, shots are used to produce numbness at a chronic pain site.

Most people will have the lidocaine injection administered by a dentist, doctor, or nurse and amount given depends on the different needs. For heart treatment, the injection is placed in muscle and allowed to migrate into the blood stream. As a local anesthetic, an injection of lidocaine tends to be delivered at the site of pain or injury, and subcutaneously (under the skin).

There are a few people who are typically not good candidates to receive a lidocaine injection in most circumstances. The drug may not be administered when people have complex histories of heart problems and especially if they take beta-blockers or other heart medications. Even some medications prescribed for mental conditions could potentially interact in an unfortunate way with this drug. A full drug and medical history should be taken prior to using an injection of lidocaine.


Pregnant women are usually asked to avoid having a lidocaine injection, because this does easily pass to the fetus and may cause adverse effects. Doctors and anesthesiologists may avoid giving this medicine, especially during labor, or, in contrast, they specifically use this medication; there are differing opinions on its benefits. Effects on newborns could include poor muscle tone for several days after birth and occasionally more serious reactions result.

For home use, some people are prescribed lidocaine injection medication and syringes. The most common reason for this prescription is to treat a source of chronic pain. The medication may be effective in this respect, but it can sometimes be easy to overdose and use too much. When this occurs people should get to a doctor and watch for any signs of potential overdose like strong pain in the chest or changes in heart rhythm.

One alternative to the lidocaine injection for home use may be transdermal delivery. Some people derive more benefit from adhesive skin patches that help to keep an uncomfortable area feeling less. Doctors may be more willing to consider these patches than they are injections, and patients may be happier to get them because they are much easier to use.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

@Cruze, I don’t know if lidocaine is addictive, but I am aware that if it is overused in high doses it can lead to problems with the central nervous system, like nervousness, dizziness, seizures and heart problems. Lidocaine is a drug so its use needs to be monitored by a physician, as the article states.

Post 2

I was wondering if lidocaine is addicting? My daughter receives injections and also uses the patches for pain in her shoulder. She has had drug problems before so I wonder if the lidocaine can be addictive too?

Post 1

I have chronic lower back pain due to spinal stenosis and use lidocaine (transdermal) patches daily. I find a good amount of relief with them. I agree with the article, they are much easier to use than injections.

They can be easily placed precisely where the pain is located, much like a self-adhesive bandage. The only drawback to the patches is their cost. After my insurance pays its portion, my share is over $100 for a 30ct box. That is the only drawback and I’m willing to pay it. If I didn’t have my lidocaine patches, I don’t know what I’d do.

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