Generic Name: Anbesol Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Anbesol® (benzocaine topical) used for?

Anbesol® is a local anesthetic (numbing medication). It works by blocking nerve signals in your body.

Anbesol® is used to reduce pain or discomfort caused by minor skin irritations, sore throat, sunburn, teething pain, vaginal or rectal irritation, ingrown toenails, hemorrhoids, and many other sources of minor pain on a surface of the body.

Anbesol® is also used to numb the skin or surfaces inside the mouth, nose, throat, vagina, or rectum to lessen the pain of inserting a medical instrument such as a tube or speculum.

How should I take Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Use the smallest amount of medicine needed to numb the skin or relieve pain. Do not use large amounts of benzocaine topical, or cover treated skin areas with a bandage or plastic wrap without medical advice.

Your body may absorb more of this medicine if you use too much, if you apply it over large skin areas, or if you apply heat, bandages, or plastic wrap to treated skin areas. Skin that is cut or irritated may also absorb more topical medication than healthy skin.

Do not use benzocaine topical to treat large skin areas or deep puncture wounds. Avoid using the medicine on skin that is raw or blistered, such as a severe burn or abrasion.

Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.

To treat minor skin conditions, apply a thin layer of benzocaine topical to the affected area. If using the spray, hold the container 6 to 12 inches away from the skin. Do not spray this medication onto your face. Spray it instead on your hands and then rub it onto the face, avoiding contact with your eyes.

To treat hemorrhoids, apply the medication up to 6 times per day.

Clean the area with soap and water before applying benzocaine topical. Wash your hands before and after inserting a rectal suppository.

Do not take a rectal suppository by mouth. It is for use only in your rectum.

Try to empty your bowel and bladder just before using the benzocaine suppository.

Remove the wrapper before inserting the suppository. Avoid handling the suppository too long or it will melt in your hands. Lie on your back with your knees up toward your chest. Gently insert the suppository into your rectum about 1 inch, pointed tip first.

For best results, stay lying down for a few minutes. The suppository will melt quickly and you should feel little or no discomfort while holding it in. Avoid using the bathroom for at least an hour after using the suppository.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve or if they get worse within the first 7 days of using benzocaine topical. Also call your doctor if your symptoms had cleared up but then came back.

If you are treating a sore throat, call your doctor if the pain is severe or lasts longer than 2 days, especially if you also develop a fever, headache, skin rash, swelling, nausea, vomiting, cough, or breathing problems.

How do I store Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Anbesol® is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Anbesol® in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Anbesol® that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Anbesol® down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Before using this drug, tell your doctor if:

  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because, while you are expecting or feeding a baby, you should only take medicines on the recommendation of a doctor.
  • You are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • You have allergy with any of active or inactive ingredients of Anbesol® or other medications.
  • You have any other illnesses, disorders, or medical conditions.

Benzocaine topical used in the mouth or throat may cause methemoglobinemia, a life-threatening condition in which the amount of oxygen in your blood stream becomes dangerously low. Do not use benzocaine topical if you have ever had methemoglobinemia.

Get emergency medical help if you have symptoms of methemoglobinemia: headache, tired feeling, confusion, fast heart rate, and feeling light-headed or short of breath, with a pale, blue, or gray appearance of your skin, lips, or fingernails.

Do not use this medicine on a child younger than 2 years old without medical advice.

An overdose of numbing medications can cause fatal side effects if too much of the medicine is absorbed through your skin and into your blood. Use the smallest amount of this medication needed.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have:

  • Asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or other breathing disorder
  • Heart disease
  • A personal or family history of methemoglobinemia, or any genetic (inherited) enzyme deficiency
  • If you smoke.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using Anbesol® during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Anbesol®. Anbesol® is pregnancy risk category C, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk
  • B=No risk in some studies
  • C=There may be some risk
  • D=Positive evidence of risk
  • X=Contraindicated
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Benzocaine topical used in the mouth or throat may cause a rare but life-threatening condition called methemoglobinemia. In this condition, the amount of oxygen in your blood stream becomes dangerously low. This condition may occur after only one use of benzocaine or after several uses.

Signs and symptoms may occur within minutes or up to 2 hours after using benzocaine topical in the mouth or throat. Get emergency medical help if you have:

  • Headache, tired feeling, confusion
  • Fast heart rate
  • Feeling light-headed or short of breath
  • Pale, blue, or gray appearance of your skin, lips, or fingernails

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using benzocaine topical and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • Severe burning, stinging, or sensitivity where the medicine is applied
  • Swelling, warmth, or redness
  • Oozing, blistering, or any signs of infection

Common side effects may include:

  • Mild stinging, burning, or itching where the medicine is applied
  • Skin tenderness or redness
  • Dry white flakes where the medicine was applied

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Anbesol® may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Anbesol® may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

What health conditions may interact with Anbesol® (benzocaine topical)?

Anbesol® may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using Anbesol® (benzocaine topical).

What is the dose of Anbesol® (benzocaine topical) for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Anesthesia

Benzocaine topical 20% mucous membrane spray:

  • Awake intubation, oral airway, bronchoscopy: Apply 1/2 second burst to buccal folds. Instruct patient to swallow several times. Wait 1 minute, then begin procedure.
  • Upper endoscopy: Apply 1/2 second burst to each buccal fold and instruct patient to swallow several times. Wait 30 seconds, then insert scope.
  • Esophageal motility: Apply no longer than 1/2 second burst to each naris. Wait 30 to 60 seconds, then insert transducer.
  • Indirect laryngoscopy, head and neck examinations: Spray 1/2 second burst to each buccal fold, instruct patient to swallow several times. Wait 30 to 60 seconds before initiating procedure.
  • Arch bar removal: Spray affected area for no longer than 1/2 second. Wait 30 to 60 seconds, then remove arch bar.
  • Stomatitis, mucositis, pharyngitis, thrush, cancer of throat: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% mucous membrane gel:

  • Awake intubation, oral airway, bronchoscopy: Apply a small amount to naris prior to nasal intubation.
  • Proctoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy: Apply topically to rectal area, wait 30 to 60 seconds then initiate procedure.
  • Stomatitis, mucositis, pharyngitis, thrush, cancer of throat: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% mucous membrane liquid:

  • Esophageal motility: Tilt the patient’s head back and drip 2 to 3 drops into the naris prior to inserting the transducer.
  • Indirect laryngoscopy, head and neck examinations: Gargle 1 teaspoonful for approximately 15 seconds, then spit remaining out. Wait 30 to 60 seconds, then initiate procedure.
  • Nasal biopsies: Tilt patient’s head back and drip 2 to 3 drops into each naris. Wait 30 to 60 seconds, then initiate procedure.
  • Stomatitis, mucositis, pharyngitis, thrush, cancer of throat: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% mucous membrane swab:

  • Nasal biopsies: Apply topically to naris. Wait 30 to 60 seconds, then initiate procedure.

Benzocaine topical 10% to 15% mucous membrane gel:

  • Apply topically to affected area(s) of mouth and gums up to 4 times daily.

Benzocaine topical 10% mucous membrane powder for reconstitution:

  • Oral mucositis aphthous ulcers, cancer sores, stomatitis, oral lesions and tissue injury caused by ill fitting dentures and gum disease, and oral problems associated with HIV: Apply topically to affected area(s) of mouth and gums every 4 to 6 hours, not to exceed four doses daily.

Benzocaine topical oral lozenge:

  • Sore throat pain, mouth pain: 1 lozenge dissolved in mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Adult Dose for Hemorrhoids

Benzocaine topical 20% rectal ointment:

  • After cleansing area with soap and water, apply externally to affected area(s) as needed up to 6 times a day.

Usual Adult Dose for Pain

Benzocaine topical 20% gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 20% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine topical ointment:

  • Insect bites: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 5% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 10 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold container approximately 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Adult Dose for Pruritus

Benzocaine topical 20% gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 20% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine topical ointment:

  • Insect bites: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 5% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 10 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold container approximately 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Adult Dose for Burns – External

Benzocaine topical 20% gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 20% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine topical ointment:

  • Insect bites: Apply topically to affected area(s) as needed.

Benzocaine topical 20% liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical 5% spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container approximately 10 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold container approximately 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

What is the dose of Anbesol® (benzocaine topical) for a child?

Usual Pediatric Dose for Anesthesia

Greater than or equal to 2 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine topical 10% mucous membrane gel:

  • Toothache, sore gums, canker sores: Apply topically to affected area(s) up to 4 times daily. A cotton swab may be helpful when applying to young children.

Greater than or equal to 5 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine topical oral lozenge:

  • Sore throat pain, mouth pain: 1 lozenge dissolved in mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Hemorrhoids

Greater than or equal to 2 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine topical 20% rectal ointment: Apply externally to affected area up to 6 times a day.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pain

Greater than or equal to 2 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine Topical 20% Gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 5% Topical Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, minor abrasions: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine Topical – Topical Cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical – topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

Children 5 years and older:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Pruritus

Greater than or equal to 2 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine Topical 20% Gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 5% Topical Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, minor abrasions: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine Topical – Topical Cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical – topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

Children 5 years and older:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

Usual Pediatric Dose for Burns – External

Greater than or equal to 2 years to 18 years:

Benzocaine Topical 20% Gel:

  • Sunburn: Apply to affected area as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, insect bites, pruritus: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine topical 20% cream:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, poison ivy: Apply to affected area as needed not more than 1 to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 20% Liquid:

  • Pain: Apply to affected area(s) as needed up to 4 times a day.

Benzocaine Topical 5% Topical Spray:

  • Sunburn, pain, pruritus, insect bites, minor abrasions: Hold container 6 to 12 inches from skin and spray on affected area(s) until wet as needed up to 4 times a day. When applying to facial area spray into palm of hand, then rub on face avoiding area around eyes.

Benzocaine Topical – Topical Cream:

  • Pruritus, sunburn, insect bites, pain: Apply sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 or 4 times a day.

Benzocaine topical – topical spray:

  • Sunburn, pruritus: Hold 4 to 6 inches from skin and spray sparingly to affected area(s) as needed up to 3 times a day.

Benzocaine sore throat lozenges:

Children 5 years and older:

  • Dissolve 1 lozenge slowly in the mouth every 2 hours as needed.

How is Anbesol® (benzocaine topical) available?

Anbesol® is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Topical cream
  • Oitment

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Anbesol®, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: September 3, 2017 | Last Modified: September 3, 2017