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Rectacaine Side Effects

Generic Name: dibucaine topical

Note: This page contains side effects data for the generic drug dibucaine topical. It is possible that some of the dosage forms included below may not apply to the brand name Rectacaine.

For the Consumer

Applies to dibucaine topical: topical application cream, topical application ointment

As well as its needed effects, dibucaine topical (the active ingredient contained in Rectacaine) may cause unwanted side effects that require medical attention.

Major Side Effects

If any of the following side effects occur while taking dibucaine topical, check with your doctor immediately:

Incidence not known:
  • Chest pain
  • fast or irregular heartbeat
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual warmth or flushing of skin

Minor Side Effects

Some dibucaine topical side effects may not need any medical attention. As your body gets used to the medicine these side effects may disappear. Your health care professional may be able to help you prevent or reduce these side effects, but do check with them if any of the following side effects continue, or if you are concerned about them:

Incidence not known:
  • Diarrhea
  • eye irritation
  • nausea
  • skin irritation
  • vomiting

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dibucaine topical: compounding powder, topical cream, topical ointment


General side effects have included methemoglobinemia, irregular heartbeats, seizures, coma, respiratory depression, and death. Children may be at an increased risk for adverse effects, as well as those who apply large amounts of anesthetics (or cover large areas of skin), leave these products on for prolonged periods, or cover with occlusive dressings after application.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Nupercainal (dibucaine topical)." Ciba-Geigy Pharmaceuticals, East Hanover, NJ.

2. "Multum Information Services, Inc. Expert Review Panel"

It is possible that some side effects of Rectacaine may not have been reported. These can be reported to the FDA here. Always consult a healthcare professional for medical advice.

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is accurate, up-to-date and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. In addition, the drug information contained herein may be time sensitive and should not be utilized as a reference resource beyond the date hereof. This material does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients, or recommend therapy. This information is a reference resource designed as supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill , knowledge, and judgement of healthcare practitioners in patient care. The absence of a warning for a given drug or combination thereof in no way should be construed to indicate safety, effectiveness, or appropriateness for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of materials provided. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the substances you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.