Non-Cocaine Topical Anesthetics Soothe Pain While Healing Skin Wounds

Topical anesthetics which do not contain cocaine effectively treat the pain of damaged and torn skin.

A systematic review of data from thirty-two randomized control trials involving 3,128 participants has found that topical anesthetics which do not contain cocaine effectively treat the pain of damaged and torn skin, making such pain killing topical anesthetics optimal for physicians who must stitch together a wound.

As most physicians know, swabbing or placing an anesthetic cream, gel, or patch onto broken skin can be simpler and result in less pain to the patient than injecting a pain killer through a needle.

A team of Cochrane researchers analyzed the data from thirty-two trials and found that, while the early forms of topical pain killers contained cocaine—which makes the pain killer hard to utilize in practice due to concerns over possible side effects—newer versions of topical pain killers which do not contain cocaine are just as effective.

"The research clearly showed that cocaine-free topical anesthetics can substantially reduce pain without triggering serious side effects," reported the study's lead researcher Anthony Eidelman, who works at the Olathe Medical Centre in Kansas, USA.

Eidelman noted, however, that the varied nature of the trials his team studied made reaching further, detailed conclusions not possible.

"We need to encourage people to do more research using non-cocaine topical anesthetics, but this time perform the research in ways that are sufficiently rigorous. These agents look promising at the moment, but it would be great to confirm their value with high-quality research," said Eidelman.