warning about using benzocaine sprays (Hurricaine, etc) to numb the mouth and throat before intubation or endoscopy

See new FDA safety information concerning the use of topical benzocaine sprays, gels, and liquids.

The FDA is warning about using benzocaine sprays (Hurricaine, etc) to numb the mouth and throat before intubation or endoscopy.

Benzocaine causes hemoglobin to oxidize to methemoglobin, which can't carry oxygen. This can lead to cyanosis, confusion, coma, etc.

Some hospitals are switching to lidocaine. It seems less likely to cause methemoglobinemia.

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