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A novel lidocaine hydrochloride ophthalmic gel for topical ocular anesthesia

Authors Shah H, Reichel E, Busbee B

Published 10 August 2010 Volume 2010:3 Pages 57—63


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

HR Shah1, E Reichel2, BG Busbee3

1New England Eye Center Boston, MA, USA; 2Vitreoretinal Service, New England Eye Center/Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA; 3Tennessee Retina, Nashville, TN, USA

Abstract: Topical anesthetics play an important role in the practice of ophthalmology, both for procedures in the office and in the operating room. The need for safe, long-acting topical ocular anesthetic agents is ongoing, and has been highlighted by the increase of intravitreal administration of pharmacologic agents. Current practices for ocular anesthesia include subconjunctival injection of 2% aqueous lidocaine, topical 2% lidocaine drops and topical 0.5% tetracaine. Tetracaine is not yet FDA approved, and is associated with corneal epithelial toxicity and delayed epithelial healing after multiple administrations. Lidocaine jelly (2%) preparations have been reported to be beneficial in several systemic procedures, including those of the upper airway, dental, urogenital, and gastrointestinal. It has been theorized, and recent studies support the idea, that gel formulations of lidocaine may enhance anesthetic effect, and therefore be superior to anesthetic solutions for topical cataract surgery. The viscous nature of gel formulations is thought to lengthen contact time, resulting in better anesthesia at lower drug concentrations. Furthermore, several studies suggest that lidocaine is bactericidal and bacteriostatic, and may have a supplementary role in preventing and treating surgical site infections. Akten™, lidocaine 3.5% gel (Akorn, Buffalo Grove, IIlinois) was FDA approved for all ophthalmic procedures in October 2008. This gel is a preservative-free, lidocaine-based anesthetic gel consisting of 35 mg/mL of lidocaine hydrochloride. We describe the properties, including chemical structure, indications, evidence of support, use, adverse effects, and precautions, which we believe enable Akten to provide superior anesthesia, while minimizing side effects.

Keywords: Akten, lidocaine gel, topical anesthetic, ocular surgery

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