Difference Between Lidocaine and Lignocaine

Lidocaine and lignocaine is actually the same medicine referred to in two different names. It is a popular local anesthetic drug. Lidocaine is used to numb a part of the body when necessary. It is frequently used in dental surgery, treating mouth sores, and getting stitches. Known as lignocaine hydrochloride or lidocaine hydrochloride, this medicine is available in the market as a gel and as an injection. The drug is an aromatic amide which has the molecular formula of C14H22N2O. The drug is also known by the name xylocaine.


Lidocaine is mainly an anesthetic drug used in dental surgery, surgical stitching etc. to numb a part of the body to make a patient insensitive to pain. The lidocaine gel is also used as a lubricant when inserting catheters and other medical instruments in to the body. Its application is also found in treating extremely painful inflammations found in the bladder or urethra. Mechanism of action of lidocaine is to stop pain signals temporarily. This is achieved by stopping the sodium channels pumping sodium in to the nerve cells which results in no buildup of action potential hence terminate propagation of the pain signal to the brain.

When applying the lidocaine gel, attention should be given to apply the gel only to the area necessary. Applying over a large surface area may increase the amount of drug absorbed. When there are cuts and damaged tissues, especially in mucus tissues, the absorption may get increased and result in overdose. It is noted that these tissues absorb the drug more than the healthy tissues. Also, if the drug is applied to a heated area of the body, it is likely to absorb more. In an incident of overdose symptoms such as slow breathing, breathing failure, fits, uneven heartbeat, and even coma may be observed.

Some serious side effects associated with lidocaine usage are slow heart beats, convulsions, drowsiness and blurred vision. Minor side effects such as redness and swelling on the area of drug application are also noticed at many incidents. The lidocaine gel should be handled with care because if it is applied on to the skin accidentally, temporary numbness may occur. Usually the gel takes about 3-5 minutes to numb the applied area which is advantageous in minor surgeries due to the time saved. This medicine should be avoided if found allergic to it initially. Swelling of face, lips, palms or throat and heavy of difficult breathing are signs of allergy and usage should be immediately stopped. Lidocaine has not shown any harm to the unborn baby if a pregnant mother uses it. However, it has shown harmful effects on nursing babies when a breast-feeding mother uses the drug. In such situations, it is always advisable to seek medical help before using the drug.


Lignocaine and lidocaine is the same drug called in different names. Therefore the usage, side effects etc. are similar for both. The name lignocaine is popular in the UK because it is the former approved British name for the drug under B373 drug directory.

Lidocaine vs Lignocaine

• Lidocaine and lignocaine is the same drug. Lidocaine is the “recommended international non-proprietary name” also known as (rINN) and lignocaine is the name approved by British.