31 Jan How to choose the right numbing cream?
Pharmaceutical compounding is the creation of personalised medicines, tailored to suit the needs of the patient. The result is a medication that specifically targets the patient’s illness, rather than a generic drug which may have other consequences. One such example is numbing creams, as they can come in different strengths, be applied in various forms, and be composed of different ingredients, all of which have different actions. Through compounding, the right elements can be put together, creating different anaesthetics that suit the patient’s needs.
Each ingredient in anaesthetic numbing creams have different properties. Thus, having specific concentrations of each numbing ingredient is essential to obtain the overall desired effect on the patient. Compounding allows for this personalisation. For example, anaesthetics can have different durations, actions, side effects, excretion methods and forms of application. Mixing certain ingredients together can result in a much more effective numbing sensation depending on the patient’s needs, whether it be a powerful, short-lasting numbing cream, or a long-lasting, weaker numbing gel.
Different Dosage Forms.
Compounding can also create anaesthetics in different dosage forms. For example, the same type of anaesthetics can create a gel, solution or a spray, which can be more suitable for various applications. For example, gels are better suited for teething pain and mouth ulcers, solutions are useful in pre-dental treatments, and sprays used in sports injuries. Solutions are often also compounded as a mouth wash or a mouth rinse. Another dosage form that is often formulated for kids with pain during swallowing is lollipops. Children can suck on a lollipop with an anaesthetic to numb the throat. Lollipops are suitable for conditions such as tonsillitis.
Different Bases will have different Effects
Another benefit of compounding is the ability to produce anaesthetics from different bases, depending on the location on the body of its application. Bases include creams, ointments and gels. The content of water and oil in a base will influence the texture of the base. Ointments will be most oily, and Gels will be least greasy, and creams will be somewhere in between. However, the content of oil and water will vary from one cream to another. For example, a water-based cream evaporates quickly, and is more suited for the face and skull, whereas an oil-based cream or an ointment last longer, which may be more suitable for anal fissures.
Different Conditions require different Mixture of Anaesthetics
The applications for anaesthetics are various, such as in receiving and removing tattoos, waxing, laser treatments, hair removal, pre-injection, nerve pain (e.g. shingles), and much more. These applications all require different actions from their anaesthetic, and thus, various forms of numbing agents are needed. The properties of a numbing cream are resultant from the mixture of ingredients, which are controlled through compounding, allowing for a personalised numbing effect. Using compounded anaesthetics is much safer and effective than using random over-the-counter products for different applications, as they may not be suitable.
Misconceptions about BLT
Consumers generally have many misconceptions about anaesthetics and numbing creams. For example, after some online self-searching, many call up pharmacies and request BLT cream, a common numbing cream which contains the ingredients benzocaine, lignocaine and tetracaine. However, they don’t realise BLT comes in different strengths. It could be BLT 3%/4%/3% (3% benzocaine, 4% lignocaine, 3% tetracaine) or BLT 20%/6%/4%, the latter being a much stronger numbing cream. Thus, a consumer could be ordering an anaesthetic too powerful or too weak for its intended use. Ultimately, the consumer would have wasted money and created the possibility of obtaining unwanted side-effects. Once again, compounding prevents this issue, as it tailors anaesthetics to the patient’s needs.
Work with your healthcare practitioners
Prescriptions are required to receive compounded medicine, which means the medication has doctor approval and thus, is safe. Some numbing creams don’t require a prescription however they are scheduled medicines and legally should only be obtained from a pharmacy. However, even for over the counter numbing creams, we recommend working with your doctor to achieve an effective, safe product. Compounding pharmacists always work with the doctor, and thus, the patients can be assured that the compounded anaesthetic is doctor approved. This doctor-pharmacist collaboration allows for safe, personalised treatments that can quickly and efficiently treat patients.
It is important to seek medical expertise before applying anaesthetics and numbing creams, as misuse can result in serious side-effects. If an anaesthetic is absorbed into the bloodstream, it could become toxic and affect the heart and brain (systematic absorption). A common example of misuse occurs when receiving tattoos, as the numbing cream is applied then covered. The applied cover traps and pushes the cream through the skin into the blood. Occluding numbing creams should always be avoided. These type of risks can be easily avoided by consulting a doctor or pharmacist, who would work together to recommend a proper treatment and method of application.
How to use Topical Numbing Creams:
- Wash and completely dry the area to be treated.
- The Numbing Cream should only be used on healthy, unbroken skin. Do not apply to damaged skin.
- Topical numbing cream time of application will vary depending on ingredient and required effect.
- Apply approximately 1cm (1/4 of a teaspoon) for every 10cmx10cm area of application.
- DO NOT apply glad wrap/cling wrap over the area with cream.
- Avoid getting the cream in your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you get the cream in your eyes, rinse them with plenty of water.
- Numbing Creams should not be applied near the eyes.
- Wash your hands immediately after using the numbing Cream.
- Discard packaging in the trash, out of the reach of children and away from pets.
Anaesthetics in Australia are heavily scheduled and regulated and are only available for sale in pharmacies. Tattoo artists and laser technicians are prohibited from selling anaesthetics and face, maximum penalties of $10,000 fines or 2 years imprisonment. These harsh punishments are due to the health risks associated with anaesthetics, as unregulated anaesthetics in large amounts are highly likely to penetrate the skin and enter the bloodstream, causing effects such as breathing difficulties, irregular heartbeats, seizures, comas and possibly even death. Those with allergies are at an even higher risk. Thus, it is essential that patients seek out professional advice before applying anaesthetics, as doctors can work with pharmacists to produce safe and suitable anaesthetic creams.
There is a wide variety of anaesthetics and numbing creams today, all with different strengths, properties and purposes, making it extremely difficult to decide which will be most useful for you. Pharmaceutical compounding can eliminate this decision by receiving information from your doctor, and creating a safe, personalised anaesthetic, ideally suited for your needs. For further questions, please contact us on 1300 790 139 or leave a comment and we will get back to you.
We also have many pharmacies that act as pickup points for eCompounding Chemist. These pharmacies include:
- Birdwood Pharmacy (SA)
- Collinswood Star Discount Pharmacy
- Craigmore North Pharmacy (SA)
- Croydon Star Discount Pharmacy (SA)
- Firle Star Discount Pharmacy (SA)
- Gold Creek Discount Drug Store
- Kersbrook Pharmacy (SA)
- Kilkenny Community Pharmacy (SA)
- Meadows Pharmacy
- Mount Pleasant Pharmacy (SA)
- Mt Gambier Market Place Priceline (SA)
- Mt Gambier Terry White Pharmacy (SA)
- Nairne Pharmacy (SA)
- Oakden Pharmacy (SA)
- One Tree Hill Pharmacy (SA)
- Rostrevor Star Discount Pharmacy (SA)
- Torrensville Terry White Pharmacy (SA)
- Welland Star Discount Pharmacy (SA)
- West Ryde Star Discount Pharmacy (NSW)