Americaine, Americaine Anesthetic Lubricant, Americaine-Otic, Anbesol, Benzocol, Chigger-Tox, Dermoplast, Foille, Hurricaine, Orabase with Benzocaine, Oracin, Orajel, Rhulicaine, Solarcaine, T-Caine, Unguentine
Classifications: central nervous system agent; local anesthetic (ester type); antipruritic
Prototype: Procaine
Pregnancy Category: C


5% spray, cream, ointment; 6% cream; 8% lotion, 20% spray, ointment, gel, liquid


Produces surface anesthesia by inhibiting conduction of nerve impulses from sensory nerve endings. Probable action in certain OTC appetite suppressants is dulling taste for foods. Almost identical to procaine in chemical structure, but has prolonged duration of anesthetic action.

Therapeutic Effects

Temporary relief of pain and discomfort.


Temporary relief of pain and discomfort in pruritic skin problems, minor burns and sunburn, minor wounds, and insect bites. Otic preparations are used to relieve pain and itching in acute congestive and serous otitis media, swimmer's ear, and otitis externa. Preparations are also available for toothache, minor sore throat pain, canker sores, hemorrhoids, rectal fissures, pruritus ani or vulvae, as male genital desensitizer to slow onset of ejaculation, and for use as anesthetic-lubricant for passage of catheters and endoscopic tubes.


Hypersensitivity to benzocaine or other PABA derivatives (e.g., sunscreen preparations), or to any of the components in the formulation; use of ear preparation in patients with perforated eardrum or ear discharge; applications to large areas; use in children <2 y. Safe use during pregnancy (category C) is not established.

Cautious Use

History of drug sensitivity; denuded skin or severely traumatized mucosa; children <6 y.

Route & Dosage

Adult: Topical Lowest effective dose
Child: Topical Lower strengths



Adverse Effects (1%)

Body as a Whole: Low toxicity; sensitization in susceptible individuals; allergic reactions, anaphylaxis. Methemoglobinemia reported in infants.


Drug: Benzocaine may antagonize antibacterial activity of sulfonamides.


Absorption: Poorly absorbed through intact skin; readily absorbed from mucous membranes. Peak: 1 min. Duration: 15–30 min. Metabolism: Metabolized by plasma cholinesterases and to a lesser extent by hepatic cholinesterases. Elimination: Metabolites excreted in urine.

Nursing Implications

Assessment & Drug Effects

Patient & Family Education

Common adverse effects in italic, life-threatening effects underlined; generic names in bold; classifications in SMALL CAPS; Canadian drug name; Prototype drug