Meds and you

30 September 2013


Prilocaine is not available in a product on its own.


Prilocaine is not available in a product on its own.

General information

Prilocaine is a local anaesthetic. Local anaesthetics are drugs that remove feeling and pain, and numb a particular area of the skin.

In South Africa prilocaine is registered for the treatment of numbing a localised area of the skin or mucous membranes prior to injection or other minor procedures.

This medication does not cure the underlying condition, but simply keeps the symptoms under control. For it to be effective, it has to be applied regularly.

How does prilocaine work?

Prilocaine works by temporarily blocking the pathway of pain signals along nerves.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: schedule 1
What does it do? Prilocaine is used for the numbing of a localised area of the skin, in other words to desensitise the skin prior to injections, minor procedures or for relief of the local pain.
Overdose risk: low
Dependence risk: low
Is prilocaine available as a generic? no
Is prilocaine available on prescription only? no

User information

Onset of effect: within 10 minutes
Duration of action: several hours
Stopping this medicine: treatment with this medication can be safely stopped when no longer needed.
Prolonged use: treatment should be limited to a few days only.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before applying this drug to broken or inflamed skin

Pregnancy: avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, or if you are planning to fall pregnant.
Breastfeeding: avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.
Porphyria: this medication is safe for use.
Infants and children: this medication is not intended for use in children under the age of 2 years.
The elderly: no special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Side Effect
Consult your doctor

Only if severe
In all cases




skin rash




Drug interactions
No known interactions.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

(This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.


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