Topical anesthesia is needed for common procedures such as suturing, wound cleaning, and injection administration. The ideal topical anesthetic would provide complete anesthesia following a simple pain-free application, not contain narcotics or controlled substances, and have an excellent safety profile. The combination of topical anesthetics lidocaine and tetracaine and the vasoconstrictor epinephrine has been used successfully for anesthesia prior to suturing linear scalp and facial lacerations in children. A triple-anesthetic gel containing benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine ("BLT") has also been reported to be effective when applied prior to laser and cosmetic procedures. Convenience of application without need for occlusion is an advantage of these topical anesthetics.
The following article concludes: "LAT gel (4% lidocaine, 1:2000 adrenaline, 0.5% tetracaine) worked as well as TAC gel (0.5% tetracaine, 1:2000 adrenaline, 11.8% cocaine) for topical anesthesia in facial and scalp lacerations. Considering the advantages of a noncontrolled substance and less expense, LAT gel appears to be better suited than TAC gel for topical anesthesia in laceration repair in children."
Pediatrics 1995 Feb;95(2):255-8
Lidocaine adrenaline tetracaine gel versus tetracaine adrenaline cocaine gel for topical anesthesia in linear scalp and facial lacerations in children aged 5 to 17 years.
Ernst AA, Marvez E, Nick TG, Chin E, Wood E, Gonzaba WT
Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University, New Orleans.
Click here to access the PubMed abstract of this article.
The following article reported that a triple-anesthetic gel containing benzocaine, lidocaine, and tetracaine ("BLT") applied prior to treatment with a 532-nm KTP laser resulted in significantly lower pain scores than with 3 other topical anesthetics at 15, 30, 45, and 60 minutes after application.
Cosmetic Dermatology 2003 Apr;16(4):35-7
Topical Triple-Anesthetic Gel Compared With 3 Topical Anesthetics
Department of Dermatologic Surgery, University of California, San Francisco