Lidocaine (Molecule of the Month for June 2007)
Lignocaine, Xylocaine, Xylocard
Lidocaine is a local anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drug. Lidocaine is used topically to relieve itching, burning and pain from skin inflammations, injected as a dental anesthetic, and in minor surgery.
Lidocaine, the first amino amide-type local anesthetic, was developed first by Nils Löfgren and Bengt Lundqvist in 1943 and first marketed in 1948.
Lidocaine use in anesthesia can be explained by the fact that it alters depolarization in neurons, by blocking the fast voltage gated sodium (Na+) channels in the cell membrane. With sufficient blockade, the membrane of the presynaptic neuron will not depolarize and so fail to transmit an action potential, leading to its anesthetic effects. Careful titration allows for a high degree of selectivity in the blockage of sensory neurons, whereas higher concentrations will also affect other modalities of neuron signalling.
Formal Chemical Name (IUPAC)
Update by Karl Harrison
(Molecule of the Month for June 2007 )