Lecithin-coated microdroplets of methoxyflurane (MOF) have been reported to produce local anesthesia of long duration in rats. The present study was conducted in two phases. The first phase was open label studies in two human volunteers aimed at determining the effective concentration of MOF in human skin. Over the concentration range of 0.3-2.4%, MOF produced local anesthesia to pinprick and cold stimuli within 15 seconds. The duration of the anesthetic effect of 2.4% MOF in the skin of the buttock, forearm and leg was five to eight days. Microdroplets containing isoflurane, a more volatile agent, gave an anesthetic effect that reversed within two to five hours. In the second phase of the study, the safety and efficacy of MOF were compared to phenol in placebo-controlled and blinded studies using indwelling stimulating electrodes. Phenol was destructive to skin at a concentration necessary to obtain a degree of local anesthesia comparable to MOF. The greater part of the anesthetic effect produced by phenol at this “toxic” concentration was transient (approximately one hour). In contrast to phenol, MOF produced an anesthetic effect lasting four to seven days without producing visible damage to skin. These results suggest that MOF is safer and more efficacious than phenol for producing long-lasting local anesthesia of human skin.
- anesthetic technique
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