Tetracaine (Topical application)
Generic Name: tetracaine (TE-tra-kane)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 5, 2020.
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
- Cepacol Viractin
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Anesthetic, Local
Chemical Class: Amino Ester
Uses for tetracaine
Tetracaine is used in different parts of the body to cause numbness or loss of feeling in some patients before having a medical test or procedure.
Tetracaine belongs to a group of medicines known as topical local anesthetics. It deadens the nerve endings in the skin. Tetracaine does not cause unconsciousness as general anesthetics do when used for surgery.
Tetracaine is available only with your doctor's prescription.
Before using tetracaine
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For tetracaine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to tetracaine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of tetracaine in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
No information is available on the relationship of age to the effects of tetracaine in geriatric patients.
Studies in women suggest that this medication poses minimal risk to the infant when used during breastfeeding.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other medical problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of tetracaine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Brain or spinal problems or
- Eye problems or
- Heart and blood vessel problems—Use with caution. May make these conditions worse.
- Infection at or near the place of application or
- Large sores, broken skin, or severe injury at the area of application—The chance of side effects may be increased.
Proper use of tetracaine
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you tetracaine. Tetracaine is for use on the skin only.
Be careful not to get any of tetracaine in your nose, mouth, and especially in your eyes, because it can cause severe eye irritation. If any of the medicine does get into these areas especially the eyes, wash it with water and check with your doctor right away.
Precautions while using tetracaine
It is very important that your doctor check you closely for any problems or unwanted effects that may be caused by tetracaine.
Stop using tetracaine and check with your doctor right away if you have a skin rash, burning, stinging, swelling, or irritation of your skin.
Do not use cosmetics or other skin care products on the treated skin areas.
Tetracaine side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
Incidence not known
- Blurred vision
- chest pain or discomfort
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying or sitting position suddenly
- fast or irregular heartbeat
- lightheadedness or fainting
- no blood pressure or pulse
- no breathing
- shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
- shortness of breath
- slow or irregular heartbeat
- stopping of heart
- trembling or shaking of the hands or feet
- unusual tiredness or weakness
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
Incidence not known
- Continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
- fear or nervousness
- hearing loss
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
More about tetracaine topical
- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 2 Reviews
- Drug class: topical anesthetics
- FDA Alerts (1)
- Other brands
Related treatment guides
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.