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Similarities and Differences Between Tetracaine Vs Lidocaine Creams

Jun 6, 2018

What is tetracaine cream?

Tetracaine, sometimes known as amethocaine, is an ester-type local anaesthetic agent that is used to temporarily paralyse a particular area before proceeding with medical procedures. It produces local anaesthesia by blocking the sodium ion channels needed for the initiation and conduction of the nerve impulses. Tetracaine is present in various over-the-counter (OTC) products such as burn creams that provide pain relief and numbing sensations.

What is lidocaine cream?

Lidocaine—also known as xylocaine and lignocaine—is a medication that is used to induce temporary local anaesthesia on proposed treatment areas before a medical procedure can be conducted. This amide-based local anaesthetic agent works by blocking the activity of fast voltage gated sodium channels. Hence, this medication not only prevent the conduction of nerve impulses to the brain, it also stops the production of pain signals in the first place. It is also used as an active ingredient in various OTC products such as sunburn soothing spray and numbing topical anaesthetic cream.

Similarities and differences between tetracaine Vs lidocaine creams


The main similarity between tetracaine and lidocaine creams is their functionality. Both these creams are widely used in medical and aesthetic procedures so that patients can enjoy pain-free treatment sessions. Both of the creams share the same mechanism of action as they reduce pain signals by blocking the sodium ion channels.


Tetracaine and lidocaine creams are differentiated by the classes of local anaesthetic agent that they fall into. The former is an ester-type local anaesthetic agent that have easily-broken linkages. This drug is less stable in solution and cannot be stored for as long as amides. Besides that, amide-type lidocaine is very stable in heat can even be autoclaved while tetracaine is unstable in heat. The metabolism also differs greatly between these 2 local anesthetic agents. Tetracaine is metabolized rapidly by plasma esterase and has a very short life. Lidocaine, on the other hand, is broken down slowly in the liver by amidases. So, lidocaine has a much longer short life. The metabolism of most ester-type anaesthetics also results in the production of para-aminobenzoate (PABA) which is associated with allergic reactions while amide-based local anaesthetic rarely cause hypersensitivity aftereffects.