Anesth Pain Med.  2019 Apr;14(2):165-171. 10.17085/apm.2019.14.2.165.

Antibacterial effect of lidocaine in various clinical conditions

  • 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Chungbuk National University College of Medicine, Cheongju, Korea.


Infection, one of the complications associated with procedures, can cause fatal outcomes for patients. Although the local anesthetic agent we use is less susceptible to infection due to its antibacterial action, we performed this study to check the change in the antibacterial effect of lidocaine in various clinical conditions.
After exposing lidocaine to five contaminated environments, we checked on whether the bacteria could be cultured in blood agar plate (BAP) media. In each contaminated environment, lidocaine was exposed for 4 h (n = 9) and 8 h (n = 9), and the results were compared. Lidocaine was swabbed with chlorhexidine (group A), brought into contact with saliva (group B), skin (group C), an operating room floor and an outpatient room floor (group D), operating room air for 24 h (group A-a), and outpatient room air for 24 h (group A-b). After exposure, the culture was initiated.
In 2 of 9 BAP media where lidocaine was exposed to saliva (group B) for 8 h, growth of a colony was observed. In gram staining, it was found to be Streptococcus viridans. No bacteria were found in any other groups.
Though lidocaine has strong antibacterial activity, it has been found that long-term exposure to a contaminated environment reduces its antibacterial activity and that drug contamination can be heavily affected not only by environmental but also human effects. Therefore, the use of aseptic drugs is necessary, and stopping the reuse of the drug is a way to prevent complications, including infection.


Drug contamination; Lidocaine
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