Topical Anesthesia Use in Children

Kimberly A. Pesaturo, PharmD, BCPS; Michele Matthews, PharmD


US Pharmacist. 2009;34(3):HS-4- HS-7. 

In This Article

The Role of the Pharmacist

Pharmacists can contribute significantly to several areas surrounding the use of topical anesthesia. First, the pharmacist can make sure that topical anesthesia is used when necessary. Some practitioners suggest that pain control should always be used when venipuncture or venous access is performed in children and that failure to offer topical pain control can lead to bad memories, anxiety, and needle phobia.[21] A study of more than 1,200 subjects in a pediatric ED found that very few patients undergoing venipuncture received any pain management during or after the procedure, however.[22] Second, the pharmacist can see to it that topical anesthetics and drug-delivery products are used at an appropriate dose and duration to ensure maximal efficacy while avoiding systemic absorption. The FDA recently issued a public-health advisory to reiterate the importance of using these agents sparingly and at the lowest dose possible.[23] Finally, the pharmacist should be involved in patient drug counseling and monitoring for adverse effects, including signs of systemic toxicity (neurotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, and methemoglobinemia).[24]


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