Effectiveness of topical anesthetics on reducing tactile sensitivity in the paws of newborn rats



The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of three local, topical anesthetics on touch response thresholds of the paws of 1-day-old rats. Touch response thresholds were measured using Semmes Weinstein monofilaments after treatment of the paws with EMLA (2.5% lidocaine and 2.5% prilocaine), alcaine (.5% proparacaine), triocaine (20% benzocaine, 6% lidocaine, and 4% tetracaine), or petroleum jelly (treatment control). Touch thresholds significantly increased after treatment with EMLA 18% of the time, and there was no evidence of a systemic effect. Touch thresholds were not significantly altered after treatment with alcaine, triocaine, or petroleum jelly. Therefore, EMLA appears to be a slightly effective topical anesthetic for reducing tactile sensitivity in newborn rats. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 56: 126–132, 2014.