The Inception and Uses of Benzocaine

Benzocaine is a local anesthetic. It is mostly used as a pain reliever. You may also see its use in cough drops. The benzocaine powder is an essential ingredient in several over the counter anesthetic ointments. The product for oral ulcers is one good example where benzocaine is an active ingredient. Benzocaine when combined with antipyrine forms A/B Otic Drops. These drops are usually used to treat ear pains and to remove earwax.

Benzocaine is the ethyl ester of the PABA (p-aminobenzoic acid). It can be easily prepared from ethanol and PABA. You mode of preparation requires Fischer esterification or through reducing ethyl p-nitro benzoate. It is scarcely soluble in water. However, it goes well with dilute acids. It is easily soluble in ethyl ether, chloroform, and ethanol. Benzocaine melts at 88-90 degree Celsius whereas the boiling point is 310 degree Celsius. Its density is measured at 1.17 g/cm3.

In the year 1890, a German chemist Eduard Ritsert first synthesized Benzocaine. It was synthesized in the town of Eberbach. Benzocaine made its first appearance in the market in 1902. It was named “Anasthesin.”

Benzocaine is used as the main ingredient in several pharmaceuticals:

  • It is used in throat lozenges available over the counter such as Cepacol and Anbesol.
  • It can be used in glycerol-based medications for ear. This medication is used to remove earwax and to relieve ear of conditions such as swimmers ear and Otitis Media.
  • It may also be seen in some earlier diet products such as the Ayds.

Benzocaine is commonly found in Britain. It gives the numbing effect as that of cocaine but does not truly constructs outcome as cocaine.


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