The Lidoderm Patch is brand name for a local anesthetic used to treat post-shingles pain.
What is the Lidoderm Patch?
The Lidoderm Patch is a type of lidocaine transdermal patch that is a local, non-pill, anesthetic used for pain management. It blocks nerve pain signals, and it is prescribed for post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN): post-shingles pain. Patients apply up to 3 patches once a day, and doctors determine how many patches can be used at once (and for how long). Patients should “never wear patches for more than 12 hours per day”. Patches are used on unbroken, unblistered skin, and they should be cut to size. Patients should take care not to touch their eyes after applying the patch, and they should wash their hands after. Patches should not be reused, and they should be kept out of the reach of children and pets.1 The Lidoderm Patch brand contains 5% lidocaine on a “non-woven polyester felt backing”; it contains 700 mg of lidocaine.2
Uses for the Lidoderm Patch
Patients infected with the herpes zoster virus (shingles) can experience intense nerve pain after an outbreak (post-herpetic neuralgia). Lidocaine can reduce the pain, as well as numb the overly-sensitive skin areas. The local anesthetic works by temporarily numbing the feeling in the affected area.3 Pain relief can be immediate, “but it may take up to 2 weeks” for the full effect to be achieved. PHN pain can be debilitating in that even a light breeze, temperature change, or bed sheets can trigger the stabbing, itching, aching, or burning pain. It can last for months or years. Patients who can point to the area of pain are the ones for whom doctors may prescribe a lidocaine transdermal patch, such as Lidoderm. Pain may be in the face, chest, back, arms, and abdominal region.4
Patients who are allergic to local anesthetics or any lidocaine should not use this patch. Doctors need to also be informed of pregnancy, breastfeeding, upcoming surgery (even dental), and other medications and vitamin supplements that patients are using. Some of the side effects might be redness, swelling, burning, or discomfort in the area where the patch was applied. More serious side effects include the following: nausea, excessive thirst, fast pulse, itching, rash, hives, swelling, weakness, fainting, and difficulty breathing.5 Patients could also experience uneven heartbeats, confusion, convulsions, tremors, and blurred vision. If these happen, patients should immediately stop using the patch. While on the patch, patients should avoid exposing it to heat sources (i.e., hot tubs, electric blankets, prolonged sunlight, etc.) as the heat can release more of the drug into the body, triggering the possibility of more side effects.6
Find out more information regarding shingles.