Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1995 December; 88(12): 709p–711p.
PMCID: PMC1295423

The effect of temperature on the discomfort caused by topical local anaesthesia.


The warming of local anaesthetic solutions to reduce the pain felt on injection is common practice in a number of medical sub-specialties. A study was undertaken to assess the effect of temperature on the discomfort caused by local anaesthetic eye drops. Tropical anaesthetics amethocaine 1%, oxybuprocaine 0.4% and lignocaine 4% were studied, and after the application of strict exclusion criteria 60 patients were selected, 20 patients for each anaesthetic. Each patient group received a topical anaesthetic at 42 degrees C in one eye and at room temperature in the other. A 10 point visual analogue scale was used to assess the discomfort experienced. No statistically significant difference was found between the discomfort caused by drops at each temperature for any of the three anaesthetics studied. There appears no benefit in warming topical anaesthetic agents prior to their use.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (352K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Bloom LH, Scheie HG, Yanoff M. The warming of local anesthetic agents to decrease discomfort. Ophthalmic Surg. 1984 Jul;15(7):603–603. [PubMed]
  • Finkel LI, Berg DJ. Heating lidocaine appears to prevent painful injection. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Mar;148(3):651–651. [PubMed]
  • Westblade AG. Temperature changes and local anaesthesia. Aust Dent J. 1968 Apr;13(2):154–157. [PubMed]
  • Bainbridge LC. Comparison of room temperature and body temperature local anaesthetic solutions. Br J Plast Surg. 1991 Feb-Mar;44(2):147–148. [PubMed]
  • Alonso PE, Perula LA, Rioja LF. Pain-temperature relation in the application of local anaesthesia. Br J Plast Surg. 1993 Jan;46(1):76–78. [PubMed]
  • Wewers ME, Lowe NK. A critical review of visual analogue scales in the measurement of clinical phenomena. Res Nurs Health. 1990 Aug;13(4):227–236. [PubMed]
  • Oikarinen VJ, Ylipaavalniemi P, Evers H. Pain and temperature sensations related to local analgesia. Int J Oral Surg. 1975 Sep;4(4):151–156. [PubMed]
  • Dalton AM, Sharma A, Redwood M, Wadsworth J, Touquet R. Does the warming of local anaesthetic reduce the pain of its injection? Arch Emerg Med. 1989 Dec;6(4):247–250. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Kaplan PA, Lieberman RP, Vonk BM. Does heating lidocaine decrease the pain of injection? AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987 Dec;149(6):1291–1291. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press