Lidocaine is a local anesthetic or more commonly understood as a numbing agent. For some patients, intravenous injections of lidocaine minimize whole-body pain by numbing the nerves which are causing discomfort. Lidocaine blocks sodium entering the nerve ending at the site of the pain thus blocking the pain impulse. This prevents an electrical signal building up and passing along the nerve fibers to the brain. The blocking of voltage-gated sodium channels may play a role in the attenuation of both neuropathic and inflammatory pain. This type of infusion has been found to be equal to morphine, gabapentin, amitriptyline, or amantadine for treatment of neuropathic pain.
The IV infusion will be administered at a very low dose and over an extended period of time. The first 15-20 minutes are typically uneventful with no noticeable effects, however, within 20 minutes or so, people tend to notice some blurring of vision, a feeling of “lightness”, “floating”, or intoxication and sometimes some numbness in the toes or area around the mouth. Over the course of the next 20 minute period, these feelings tend to build, so that the medicine is at the peak of its intensity at the very end.
Other common feelings include euphoria, talkativeness, a feeling of being “disconnected” or in a dream, heightened perceptions (background noise may seem louder, colors or lights are more intense) and a feeling that people often describe as “weird, odd, different, or interesting”. Less commonly, people may experience nausea and rarely hallucinations. These feelings start to subside approximately 10-15 minutes after the medicine is done and last for a total of 45 to 50 minutes. Most people can expect to be with us for about 90 minutes, with no side effects beyond your release from our care and none between treatments. Most adverse affects can easily be treated by adjusting the rate of your infusion or with other medications to make your infusion experience pleasant and calming.