Lidoderm Patch (Lidocaine)

What is Lidoderm patch?

Lidoderm is a topical treatment. It can be used alone or along with other medications to treat the issue of after-shingles (herpes zoster) pain. By nature, it is anaesthetic and it halts the pain stimulating nerve signals in the patient’s body to provide him relief from the pain.

Physical composition of Lidoderm patch

Lidoderm is made by an adhesive material that contains 5% lidocaine. This material is applied on non-woven polyester felt backing. It is then covered by polyethylene terephthalate (PET) film protective liner. Before applying it to the skin of the patient, the protective liner is removed. The dimensions of the patch are 10 cm x 14 cm.

Chemical composition of Lidoderm patch

Chemically, Lidoderm patch is referred to as acetamide, 2-(diethylamino)-N-(2,6-dimethylphenyl). Each consists of 700 mg of lidocaine (50 mg per gram adhesive) which is in an aqueous base. It has octanol while the water partition ratio of 43 at pH 7.4.

How to use lidoderm patch?

  • Firstly, you must keep in mind the fact that lidoderm patch is only suitable for healthy and normal skin. The skin must be dry and clean. You should never try to apply it to irritated or allergic skin. Apply only the recommended dosage by your doctor and follow his applying instructions, too.
  • Next, wash your hands before applying lidoderm patch. Peel off the liner and apply the patch on the skin. Apply it in a way that patch should cover the most painful skin area. If the painful skin area is larger than the patch, you can use up to three patches at the same time. If the entire area is not still covered, apply the patch(es) to the most painful area. On the other hand, if the painful area is smaller than the patch, you can cut the extra patch with the help of a scissor.
  • In certain situations or skin areas where patch is not sticking on the skin, you can also use lidoderm cream. Throw away the useless part of the patch. Press the lidoderm patch gently onto the skin. Wash your hands after applying the patch.
  • These patches can be worn at a time for 12 hours on, followed by 12 hours off. If you use more than 3 patches or apply the patches for more than 12 hours, they can cause enhanced lidocaine absorption and high blood concentrations, resulting to serious side effects. You can expect toxicity of lidocaine if its blood concentration touches above the level of above 5 µg/mL.
  • If you’re applying the patch on your face and it accidentally touches your eyes, wash your eyes with saline solution or lots of water. If your condition doesn’t improve, immediately contact to your doctor for further medication.

How to discard lidoderm patch?

The used lidoderm patch still contains some medication, however, never reuse them. Wrap the used patch by folding the sticky sides . Throw away the patch out of the reach of pets and children to prevent accidental application or swallowing.

Can lidoderm patches be cut?

Since the drug is equally distributed through the entire patch so it is safe to cut and use small part of the lidoderm patch.

Is lidoderm patch a narcotic?

It is considered as numbing or aesthetic agent when applied topically and it works by stopping the nerve signals that are transmitted to the brain about the pain in an area of the patient’s skin. It is not related to narcotic medications. The most common side effects are only nausea and numbness.

How long does it take to work?

The amount of time it takes to feel the effects of lidocaine will vary by the strength of the medication. Topical solutions vary from patient to patient. Strong medication can result in immediate relief. However, you can expect a relief within two to four hours after the application of lidoderm patch.

Side effects

Lidoderm patch can cause various side effects. If you come across any of these side effects, immediately remove the patch and reapply only when you regain the normal condition. If the problem persists, contact to your doctor.

Some of the common side effects are:

  • Sudden increase or decrease in the blood pressure
  • Redness or swelling on the skin
  • Headache, funny feeling, confusion, dizziness,
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Tingling in hands, fingers or toes
  • Irritation
  • Numbness in the skin
  • Some of the severe side effects
  • Blurred vision
  • Discoloration
  • Fluctuations in heartbeat
  • Methemoglobinemia, a situation in which blood vessels carry less amount of oxygen
  • Anaphylaxis, a situation in which the body becomes hypersensitive, results in critically low blood level

Rare side effect

  • In rare cases, it can cause baldness

Can you use lidoderm patch when pregnant?

Lidoderm patch is categorized as a pregnancy Category B medication. Apparently, lidoderm doesn’t cause any side effects during the pregnancy. However, you must avoid heavy or continuous lidoderm patch dosage. It is safe to consult your doctor before using lidoderm patch during the pregnancy.

Can you use lidoderm patch during breastfeeding

As far as the breastfeeding is concerned, lidocaine is found in breast milk. It is safe to use during breastfeeding, however, in rare cases, infant can suffer from allergy. In such a situation, immediately consult to your doctor.

Cost of lidoderm patch

The price of lidoderm topical patch 5% is about $26 for a supply of 1 film, however it also depends upon the pharmacy you visit. The average price of the patch is around $10.

Can lidoderm patches be used after expiration date?

No, these patches are not harmful even if you use them after their expiration date. However, the efficiency and effectiveness of the lidoderm patches start do decrease after the expiry date reach. After the expiry date, they start to break down chemically; however, they can be used for some time after the expiry date.

What is the shelf life of lidoderm patch?

The shelf life of lidoderm patch is 18 months from manufactured date.

Uses of lidoderm patch

Lidoderm patch is used to get relief from nerve pain after shingles. This kind of pain is known as post-herpetic neuralgia. It deals with various types of pain ranging from burning pain, shooting pain, general pain, to allodynia, and it produces a significant impact on the quality of life of the patients.

Actually, it causes a temporary loss of feeling in the area where you apply it to offer instant relief so you can apply it in conditions such as back pain, joint pain, abdominal pain, and shoulder pain. You can also apply it on face, neck, chest or any other part of your body to get rid of sharp/burning/aching pain.

Drug interactions

It is advisable to share the details of all the prescribed, non-prescribed herbal, recreational, illegal, dietary or nutritional drugs with your pharmacist or doctor, you are taking.

You should never take lidoderm patch if you are using the drugs including

  • Juxtapid (Lomitapide)
  • Cerdelga (eliglustat)
  • Exparel (bupivacaine liposome)
  • Tikosyn (dofetilide)

You should consult the doctor if you are using following drugs before using lidoderm patch. These drugs include Dilantin (phenytoin), Orap (pimozide), Mefloquine, Inlyta (axitinib), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Kalydeco (Ivacaftor), Bosulif (bosutinib), Lexiva (fosamprenavir), or Pomalyst (pomalidomide)

Precautions to take lidoderm patch

  • If you’re allergic to lidoderm patch or any other type of local anaesthesia, you must inform your pharmacist or doctor before using it. It may contain inactive agents that can cause allergy issues both normal and severe.
  • If you are suffering from a liver disease, you must tell your doctor before using this drug.
  • If you experience numbness in the affected skin area, never rub, scratch, or expose the skin area to extreme coldness or hotness.
  • If you are planning to become pregnant, or you are pregnant, or you are breastfeeding your baby, consult your doctor before using lidoderm patch. It can cause few rare issues during the pregnancy.
  • Take great care when you use the patch in the presence of children. It is safe to keep children away from the patient so they don’t come into contact with the patch.
    Dry the skin thoroughly before applying the lidoderm patch. It may not work well on the wet skin.
  • Don’t use source of heat over the patch because it can cause side effects. Stay away from heating sources like heating pads, saunas, heat lamps, hot tubs, electric blankets, heated waterbeds, prolonged exposure to sunlight etc.
  • If you are going through MRI, tell the doctor that you’re using the patch. Some lidoderm patches contain metals that can result in severe burns during MRI.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist about lidoderm patch if you’re going through a surgery.


Overdose can result in normal to severe side effects. In such a situation, immediately consult your doctor.

Missed dose of lidoderm patch
If you miss a dose, try to take as soon as possible. If the time of second dose is close, skip the missed dose.

How to Store lidoderm patch

Keep the lidoderm patch in its sealed packing at the room temperature away from sunlight and moisture. Don’t store it in the bathroom. Open the sealed packing only when you want to apply it.

Published on by under Drugs and Medications.
Article was last reviewed on May 28th, 2017.

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