Liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine for topical anesthesia of human oral mucosa

Michelle Franz-Montan, André L R Silva, Karina Cogo, Cristiane de C Bergamaschi, Maria C Volpato, José Ranali, Eneida de Paula, Francisco C Groppo
Anesthesia and Analgesia 2007, 104 (6): 1528-31, table of contents

BACKGROUND: The elimination of pain caused by needle insertion for local anesthesia would be a significant advance in dentistry.

METHODS: In this blinded cross-over study we evaluated the efficacy of liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine for topical anesthesia. Thirty healthy volunteers received 60 mg topical anesthetics: Liposome-encapsulated 1% ropivacaine, 1% plain ropivacaine, 2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine mixture (EMLA), and 20% benzocaine gel, in the buccal fold of the upper-right canine for 2 min in different sessions. After insertion of 30-G needles, pain was rated on a visual analog scale (VAS). A pinprick test was used to measure the duration of topical anesthesia. The pulpar response was assessed by an electric pulp tester.

RESULTS: VAS median and interquartile range (in cm) were 0.8 (0.4-1.5), 1.6 (0.8-2.6), 1.1 (0.3-2.7), 2.2 (0.9-2.9) for liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine, ropivacaine, EMLA, and benzocaine groups, respectively. The liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine group showed lower VAS mean values when compared with the benzocaine group (P = 0.0205). The median values and interquartile range for the duration of soft tissue anesthesia were 11 (7-14), 6.5 (4-11), 14 (11-16), and 7 (6-9) min for liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine, ropivacaine, EMLA, and benzocaine groups, respectively. EMLA and liposome-encapsulated ropivacaine were just as efficient for reducing pain, and showed longer soft tissue anesthesia when compared to the other local anesthetics (P = 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: Liposomal-encapsulated 1% ropivacaine gel was equivalent to EMLA for reducing pain during needle insertion and for the duration of soft tissue anesthesia. None of the topical anesthetics was effective for inducing pulpal anesthesia.

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