Benzocaine sprays

February 13, 2006

Audience: Healthcare professionals and patients

[Posted 02/13/2006] FDA issued a Public Health Advisory to notify healthcare professionals and patients about adverse events, including methemoglobinemia, associated with the use of benzocaine sprays used in the mouth and throat. Benzocaine sprays are used in medical practice for locally numbing mucous membranes of the mouth and throat for minor surgical procedures or when a tube must be inserted into the stomach or airways.  On February 8, 2006, the Veterans Health Administration (VA) announced the decision to stop using benzocaine sprays for these purposes. The FDA is aware of the reported adverse events and is reviewing all available safety data, but at this time is not planning action to remove the drugs from the market. The FDA is highlighting safety information previously addressed by the Agency (see below), has provided other information for the consideration of clinicians in the PHA and will make further announcements or take action as warranted by the ongoing review.

[February 10, 2006 – Public Health Advisory – FDA]
[January 2003 - FDA Patient Safety News - FDA]

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