Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine Patches: An Effective Pain Relief Option


Chronic pain affects millions of people worldwide and finding effective treatment options is crucial. Lidocaine patches have emerged as a safe and convenient alternative to traditional pain medication for conditions like post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), diabetic neuropathy and knee or low back pain.

What are Lidocaine Patches?

Lidocaine patches, marketed under brand names like Lidoderm and Versatis, are medicated adhesive patches that are placed directly on the skin. They contain the local anesthetic lidocaine which is slowly released from the patch and absorbed through the skin to target pain signals. Unlike oral medications, lidocaine from the patch is delivered directly to the site of pain which allows for effective pain relief with minimal systemic absorption and side effects.

How do Lidocaine Patches Work?

When applied to intact skin over the site of pain, Lidocaine  from the patch is slowly absorbed over 12 hours of wear time. This builds up a concentration of the medication in the upper layers of the skin which interrupts the transmission of pain signals from peripheral nerves to the spinal cord and brain. Lidocaine works by blocking sodium channels in nerve cell membranes, stabilizing them in their resting state and inhibiting conduction of pain signals. This provides temporary relief from ongoing or intermittent pain without psychoactive effects.

Conditions Treated with Lidocaine Patches

Postherpetic neuralgia: Persistent burning or stabbing pain that occurs after shingles outbreak. It is one of the most common conditions treated with lidocaine patches.

Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage due to diabetes causing numbness, tingling or sharp pain in hands, feet and legs.

Knee/low back osteoarthritis pain: Inflammation and degradation of cartilage surfaces, leading to chronic joint pain.

Shoulder pain: Tendinitis, bursitis and other shoulder issues causing constant or intermittent ache.

Effectiveness for Different Pain Conditions

Several clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of lidocaine patches for postherpetic neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy and osteoarthritis pain:

– For PHN, lidocaine patches provided an average 30-50% reduction in pain severity within a week compared to 20% for placebo. Relief lasted throughout the 12-hour application.

– In diabetic neuropathy, lidocaine patches reduced pain scores by up to 40% more than placebo after 4 weeks of use. Some patients reported pain relief for up to 24 hours post application.

– For osteoarthritis knee pain, lidocaine patches showed significant reductions in pain, physical disability and improved function after 2 weeks compared to oral NSAIDs or placebo.

– Studies in shoulder pain found lidocaine patches effective at lowering pain intensity ratings, increasing range of motion and overall function.

Safety Profile and Side Effects

Some benefits of lidocaine patches compared to oral pain medicines include:

– Minimal systemic absorption due to targeted skin delivery. Less than 5% of the lidocaine dose reaches blood circulation.

– Reduced risk of drug interactions and adverse effects on vital organs like the kidneys or liver.

– Less sedation, dizziness or nausea compared to opioid painkillers which can be particularly problematic in elderly patients.

– Convenient extended release delivery over 12 hours from a single application preventing fluctuations in blood drug levels.

Common side effects reported by less than 10% of patients are application site skin reactions like redness, itching or rash. In rare cases, lidocaine overdose symptoms like numbness, ringing in ears and metallic taste have been seen. Overall, lidocaine patches have a good safety profile when used as directed.

A Convenient Pain Management Option

For many chronic pain patients, lidocaine patches provide an effective alternative or addition to prescription pain medicines. With localized delivery, an excellent safety profile and ability to securely target common pain areas, lidocaine patches have become a convenient first-line or adjuvant treatment for various types of chronic pain. Combined with other pain strategies like physical therapy, acupuncture or lifestyle changes, lidocaine patches offer long-term management potential for better quality of life.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it