Tetracaine is a type of anesthesia which is applied topically to reduce pain of any particular part of the body. It is very easy to use and makes the site of application lose tactile sense for considerable amount of time. It is also known by different trade names such as amethocaine, pontocaine and dicaine. It belongs to ester group and is synthesized from 4-butylaminobenzoic acid. Tetracaine is frequently used in ophthalmology or as an antipuritic. Very rarely it is also used in spinal anesthesia.
As compared to other general and local anesthetic agents, Tetracaine is more efficient and user-friendly and rapidly causes loss of sensation on the applied area. Tetracaine in combination with benzocaine is applied to reduce the severity of gag reflex during the usage of X-ray machine. Tetracaine is used in different clinics, operation theaters, X-ray centers and other medical institutes. It is prominently used during cosmetic surgery and laser propelled hair care treatments to de-sensitize the affected spots of the body. It plays an important role in biomedical research where it is used for changing the functioning of calcium release channels (ryanodine receptors). These receptors help in liberating the calcium trapped in the intracellular stores of the body.
After 15 minutes of application of Tetracaine anesthesia, the application site becomes completely numb and the patient does not feel any pain. It is a topical anesthesia and therefore it is blended with fresh water for preparing a medicated solution for application. Tetracaine is easily soluble in the blood stream and hence instantly paralyzes the affected part. It is applied on the area where needle is to be injected for administeration of medicine, for extracting fluid or blood during laboratory tests, for giving intravenous injection or while inserting cannula into the vein. All these processes are painful and hence tetracaine is applied to make the area to be injected numb. When the pain receptors located at the ends of the nerves get stimulated they cause pain. This pain is transformed into electrical signal and when the signal reaches the brain the feeling of pain is felt. Tetracaine blocks these pain signals from reaching the brain and hence the patient gets temporary relief from feeling it.
The side effects of this medication includes rashes on the skin, inflammation, burning sensation in succession and discomfiture. There are other mild side effects like eye- exacerbation/ allergic reaction etc, that can lead to rashes on the area surrounding the eyes. Blisters on the body due to the application of this topical anesthetic agent occurs in some patients. Tetracaine, affects the natural growth of the body cells. Excess of application of tetracaine causes severe nervousness, random dizziness for prolonged period including hazy vision. Some patients experience temporary loss of vigor and strength.
If excess of tetracaine is present in blood, it cause huge damage to body cells and tissues and disrupt the normal functioning of the body. Caustic loss, imbalanced heart beats, massive convulsion, respiratory track infection, breathing disorder and seizures are caused due to overdose of tetracaine. Hence it is very necessary that you should use this topical application only after consulting your physician. Prolonged use of this anesthesia is highly dangerous.