Lidocaine for Pain Relief

October 2, 2017

Lidocaine is taking the pain management world by storm.  In 2013, prescription lidocaine patch sales were $1.5 billion in the United States according to data from IMS.  reports, that, “lidocaine is a highly effective pain reliever and its unique non-narcotic and non-addictive properties make it a benign alternative to opioids, without the risks and devastating side effects of opioids.”

The Lidocaine Patch 5% is only indicated for post herpetic neuralgia, also referred to as after shingles pain, and is therefore classified as an orphan drug (for rare conditions). Studies have shown that a disproportionate number of Lidocaine patch prescriptions were for conditions other than post herpetic neuralgia.

Part D of Medicare requires that “drugs must be prescribed for a ‘medically accepted indication.’” Medicare and many insurance companies are no longer providing coverage for off-label use of lidocaine patches. A monthly supply of lidocaine patches can cost hundreds of dollars which can present a financial hardship especially for older consumers on fixed incomes.

The OTC pain relief category had an existing base of consumers actively looking for affordable and readily accessible lidocaine pain relief options. The maximum amount of lidocaine available in OTC pain relief products is 4%. The first OTC topical pain reliever containing lidocaine was launched in 2015 in cream form. Since then, patches and roll-on forms have also been introduced and the lidocaine segment has rapidly increased in sales. With continued innovation in this area, the lidocaine segment is expected to exceed $150MM in retail sales in 2018.

As warnings about side effects for OTC oral analgesics continue to be publicized, more consumers are likely to consider incorporating topical pain relievers such as lidocaine into their pain management regimen.

Hisamitsu, the manufacturer of Salonpas® who are celebrating their 170th year in business, have pioneered the development of topical patches, gels, and sprays to relieve everyday aches and pains. Euromonitor International Limited reports that Salonpas® is the leading OTC pain relieving patch brand available in the world.  In October 2016, Hisamitsu America launched the Salonpas® Lidocaine 4% Pain Relieving Patch, using the same size and hydrogel technology as the prescription lidocaine patch, which has become the best-selling product in the lidocaine segment.

The Salonpas® Lidocaine 4% Pain Relieving Patch has become the #1 selling product in the lidocaine segment. As a follow-up to its very popular Lidocaine Patch, Salonpas is introducing the Lidocaine Plus product line which includes a cream and liquid product.

Salonpas Lidocaine Plus Pain Relieving Cream provides non-greasy, fast-absorbing numbing relief. The Salonpas® Lidocaine Plus Pain Relieving Liquid  features a no-mess, roller ball applicator that keeps hands clean while providing long-lasting pain relief.

The new Salonpas® Lidocaine Plus Pain Relieving Cream and Lidocaine Plus Pain Relieving Liquid are available at leading retailers nationwide.  The active ingredient for this convenient and versatile cream and liquid is lidocaine (4%) which provides long-lasting relief of minor aches and pains and benzyl alcohol (10%) which provides fast-acting pain relief.

Similar to the Lidocaine Patch, the Lidocaine Plus products are also unscented for discrete pain relief.

“The Lidocaine Plus products contain two powerful anesthetics including long-lasting 4% lidocaine which is the maximum strength available without a prescription and fast-acting 10% benzyl alcohol,” said John Incledon, President & CEO Hisamitsu America. “The Salonpas Lidocaine Plus products desensitize aggravated nerves for temporary relief of back, neck, shoulder, knee and elbow pain.”

“I have been using the new Salonpas® Lidocaine Plus products after my rigorous work-outs to address knee and elbow pain and found that the cream and liquid worked as effectively as stronger prescription lidocaine,” said award-winning journalist Dr. Bob Arnot, M.D., internal medicine who served as chief medical and foreign correspondent for NBC and CBS.

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