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Acute systemic toxicity from local anesthetics is generally related to high plasma levels encountered during therapeutic use of local anesthetics and originates mainly in the central nervous and the cardiovascular systems (see ADVERSE REACTIONS and WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS). It should be kept in mind that clinically relevant pharmacodynamic drug interactions (i.e., toxic effects) may occur with lidocaine and other local anesthetics or structurally related drugs, and Class I and Class III antiarrhythmic drugs due to additive effects (see DRUG INTERACTIONS).
Central nervous system toxicity is a graded response with symptoms and signs of escalating severity. The first symptoms are circumoral paresthesia, numbness of the tongue, lightheadedness, hyperacusis and tinnitus. Visual disturbance and muscular tremors are more serious and precede the onset of generalized convulsions. Unconsciousness and grand mal convulsions may follow, which may last from a few seconds to several minutes. Hypoxia and hypercarbia occur rapidly following convulsions due to the increased muscular activity, together with the interference with normal respiration. In severe cases apnea may occur. Acidosis, hyperkalaemia, hypocalcaemia and hypoxia increase and extend the toxic effects of local anesthetics.
Cardiovascular toxic effects are generally preceded by signs of toxicity in the central nervous system, unless the patient is receiving a general anesthetic or is heavily sedated with drugs such as a benzodiazepine or barbiturate.
The first consideration is prevention, best accomplished by careful and constant monitoring of cardiovascular and respiratory vital signs and the patient's state of consciousness after each local anesthetic administration. At the first sign of change, oxygen should be administered.
The first step in the management of systemic toxic reactions consists of immediate attention to the maintenance of a patent airway and assisted or controlled ventilation with oxygen and a delivery system capable of permitting immediate positive airway pressure by mask. This may prevent convulsions if they have not already occurred.
If convulsions occur, the objective of the treatment is to maintain ventilation and oxygenation and support circulation. Oxygen must be given and ventilation assisted if necessary (mask and bag or tracheal intubation). Should convulsions not stop spontaneously after 15-20 seconds, an anticonvulsant should be given iv to facilitate adequate ventilation and oxygenation. Thiopental sodium 1-3 mg/kg iv is the first choice. Alternatively diazepam 0.1mg/kg bw iv may be used, although its action will be slow. Prolonged convulsions may jeopardise the patient's ventilation and oxygenation. If so, injection of a muscle relaxant (e.g. succinylcholine 1mg/kg bw) will facilitate ventilation, and oxygenation can be controlled. Early endotracheal intubation is required when succinylcholine is used to control motor seizure activity.
Should circulatory arrest occur, immediate cardiopulmonary resuscitation should be instituted. Optimal oxygenation and ventilation and circulatory support as well as treatment of acidosis are of vital importance, since hypoxia and acidosis will increase the systemic toxicity of local anesthetics. Epinephrine (0.1 - 0.2 mg as intravenous or intracardial injections) should be given as soon as possible and repeated, if necessary.
Children should be given doses of epinephrine commensurate with their age and weight.
XYLOCAINE Viscous 2% (lidocaine hydrochloride) is contraindicated in:
- patients with a known history of hypersensitivity to local anesthetics of the amide type or to other components of the solution (see DOSAGE FORMS, COMPOSITION AND PACKAGING).
- patients with a known hypersensitivity to methylparaben and/or propylparaben (preservatives used in XYLOCAINE Viscous (lidocaine hydrochloride solution) 2%), or to their metabolite para amino benzoic acid (PABA).
Formulations of lidocaine containing parabens should also be avoided in patients with a history of allergic reactions to ester local anesthetics, which are metabolized to PABA.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/1/2014
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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