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Tetracaine (Amethocaine)

Created: 19/7/2009
Updated: 19/11/2009
This ester local anaesthetic is commonly used for topical anaesthesia as 0.5 and 1% drops for lens surgery, but may produce a burning sensation on instillation. It has also been used as an antipruritic, and it has been used in spinal anaesthesia.

It is also available as a 4% cream and has many advantages over EMLA, namely: faster onset, longer duration, local vasodilatation, without the risks of methaemoglobinaemia.

Synera® (USA), Rapydan® (Europe)], a novel heat-aided patch using a eutectic mixture of lidocaine 70 mg and tetracaine 70 mg, also has a faster onset time than EMLA.


Heated lidocaine/tetracaine patch (SyneraTM, RapydanTM) compared with lidocaine/prilocaine cream (EMLA®) for topical anaesthesia before vascular access. Br J Anaesth. 2009 Feb;102(2): 210-5
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