What does benzocaine look like and what is it?
Benzocaine is a chemical compound, in the form of a white powder or colorless crystals. It dissolves poorly in water, but good in dilute acids, as well as almond oil and olive oil.
It belongs to the group of p-aminobenzoic acid esters (PABA esters) and belongs to synthetic local anesthetics.
Who Discovered Benzocaine?
Benzocaine is an ethyl ester of p-aminobenzoic acid that was first synthesized by the German pharmacist Eduard Ritsert in Eberbach in 1890. Ritsert discovered that benzocaine can be made from p-aminobenzoic acid (PABA). The compound was patented and marketed under the name Anaesthesin (Anesthesine).
First uses of benzocaine.
Benzocaine has been used mainly externally as a pain reliever. In the United States of America, in the 1970s, benzocaine was one of the ingredients of so-called “appetite suppressants”. They were supposed to reduce the perception of taste and thus limit the amount of eaten food. In the following years, the composition of the candies was changed and phenylpropanolamine was added to the candies instead of benzocaine.
How is benzocaine used today?
The latest scientific research confirms that benzocaine can reduce the feeling of pain by blocking the transmission of impulses in nerve cells. This is due to the fact that the chemicals in benzocaine reduce the permeability of the cell membrane to sodium ions, and these cause the brain to interpret a given impulse as pain.
Dentists may use benzocaine in the event of a painful procedure such as tooth extraction. They use it under local anesthesia.
You can see benzocaine not only at the dentist’s. It is found in many preparations that are designed to relieve pain.
Contained in the ointments, it soothes various types of skin irritations and burns. It helps to relieve the symptoms of smallpox, urticaria, acne and sore throat.
Interestingly, it is also used in aquariums. When added to water in a concentration of 10% in the form of a saturated ethanol solution, it works deafeningly on fish for a period of about 10-15 minutes.
Remember not to take benzocaine by mouth.