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Can You Use Expired Lidocaine Patch For Effective Outcomes?

Itching, burns, and scrapes are commonly noticed skin problems in our daily life. These sorts of issues are generally not very severe. But leaving them untreated may lead to infection. 

Other than these, problems like hemorrhoids, eczema, itching around external genitalia, and anal fissures require immediate attention. 

These issues with moderate pain and discomfort are treated with local anesthetics. Lidocaine is one of those anesthetics. 

It is applied externally to relieve your skin torments. However, it makes you feel numb temporarily. For this, you will experience a loss of feeling in the mucous membranes and skin. 

But does an expired lidocaine patch work? Is it ok to use an expired patch?

Let’s take a look!

expired lidocaine patch
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Table of Content

Can You Use Expired Lidocaine Patches?

It is preferable not to use them. 

When the patches are out of date, they start to break down chemically. As a result of this, the efficacy of the patches reduces. This might not solve your problem. Yet is not likely to cause adverse reactions. 

The expiration date is mainly given after researching the effective period of the drug. But, do they still have effectiveness after the expiration date?  

Yes, sometimes the efficacy remains for some days after expiration. But the time is not fixed. So, it is better to dispose of the patches after the expiry date. 

In case you used an expired patch by mistake, no need to worry. Generally, they don’t harm you. Yet, get a new one for relieving your torment. Because expired ones will not work for you as expected. 

Is your lidocaine patch expired?

Lidocaine patch not working? – It always does not mean that it’s expired! Sometimes the patch simply doesn’t work due to some reasons. 

Take a look at the reasons:

  1. This may happen if you don’t know the proper way of using it.
  2. Improper storage may decrease its efficacy. So, knowing these two procedures bear great significance. 
  3. Again, you might take the usual side effects of patches as the adverse effects of the expiration date. Hence, it is essential to have good knowledge of them too. 
  4. Moreover, you need to use it for specific purposes. Lidocaine patches do not solve all sorts of pain. Using it for the torment which lidocaine cannot solve is undoubtedly baseless. The fresh ones will also be the same as the expired ones here. So, knowing the correct uses of lidocaine is a must. Otherwise, you might end up blaming lidocaine for your own mistake!
  5. Your lidocaine patch may interact with some other medicine you are taking. This will hamper the effectiveness of the patch. 
  6. Contraindications of the patch may also show an adverse effect on your health. You might think that these are due to the end of validity of the patches, whereas they are not. 

Try to obtain proper knowledge of the lidocaine patches before you start using them. You should not suspect the lidocaine patches as expired in case it’s not working for you. It might also be because of the above–mentioned causes.

To avoid confusion, check the expiry date given on the patches. 

Lidocaine Patch Uses

Lidocaine patches are mostly pain relieving. They are prescribed for the following purposes:

  • Post-herpetic neuralgia
  • Aches that you may experience after a shingles infection
  • Burning pain
  • Stabbing pain
  • Back pain related to the nerve. In this case, it is prescribed with an anticonvulsant

Other than lidocaine, there are programs available for relieving back pain. Erase my back pain is such a type of program. You may consider trying it out besides lidocaine as well. 

Way of Using Lidocaine Patches

Patches are meant to be applied to the skin. And so are the lidocaine patches. It is essential to follow the directions of the doctor while using it. This will give 

Following are the steps you should follow while applying the patches:

  1. Carefully inspect your skin before applying the patch. Avoid using it over blistered or broken skin.
  2. To take off the outer seal of the package, take the help of scissors. Pull off the zipper seal afterward. 
  3. Take a maximum of three patches from the packet. Don’t forget to close the zipper seal tightly later. 
  4. Cut the patches according to the painful area of your skin. 
  5. Then peel off the transparent liner attached to the back of the patch. 
  6. Press the patch slightly so that it gets attached to the skin perfectly. If you apply it to the face, be careful about your eyes. It is recommended to keep it away from the eyes. But if it gets into your eyes, rinse them with plenty of water. 
  7. Remember to wash your hands after finishing the application of the patch. 
  8. You should use one lidocaine patch once. After that, reusing the patch won’t provide any effective results. 
  9. Lastly, dispose of the patches properly. Even the used ones contain adequate medicine to cause harm to children or pets. 

Ask your doctor regarding the proper application of lidocaine. He may also show some demonstration for your better understanding. Only reading the instruction given with the patch might not be enough if you are a beginner. 

Storage of lidocaine

Does lidocaine need to be refrigerated? – Patients commonly get confused when it comes to the storage of the patches. 

Lidocaine can be stored for 45 days at 15-30 degrees Celsius (59-86 degrees Fahrenheit). But it can tolerate up to 51.7 degrees Celsius (125 degrees Fahrenheit) for only 13 hours. 

Lidocaine can endure these temperatures without going through degradation. So, you don’t need to refrigerate them. But consider asking your doctor about the proper storage method. 

Other than the temperature, there are several other factors concerning patch storage. Therefore, you must consider those:

  • Store it in the tight box to avoid excessive contact with moisture
  • Don’t keep the patches outside the sealed envelope
  • Keep them away from the sunlight. Extreme heat or cold may destroy its chemical composition.
  • Store them away from the reach of the children. 

Lidocaine Patch Side Effects

Do only the expired lidocaine patches exhibit side effects? Certainly not!

Having a reaction after applying the lidocaine might make you think that you have somehow purchased an expired patch. But this is certainly not the situation. 

Like many other medicines, lidocaine may also have some side effects. Know the side effects to understand that fresh patches may also cause a reaction. And also, you can avoid being confused about their validity. 

Here are the side effects you might experience: 

  • Swelling or redness at the place where you placed the patch
  • Discomfort or any burning sensation at the spot

If you experience these reactions, then take off the patches immediately. Keeping it for more time may exaggerate the side effects. This will make you suffer more rather than alleviating the pain. Also, do not try home remedies to get rid of these negative impacts. Instead, consult a doctor immediately and also show him the local reactions you had. 

Other than the above-mentioned side effects, there are also some rare reactions. Most of you will not experience these, but some of you might. 

Here are the uncommon side effects:

  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Unusual thirst
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty while swallowing or breathing
  • Fast pulse
  • Hoarseness
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Swelling in the eyes, hands, lower legs, feet, tongue, lips, face, or throat

If you experience any of these side effects, instantly consult a doctor. Your doctor will then decide if you can continue using it or not. He might also recommend some alternatives to the lidocaine patch. In some cases, he might consider sending the report to FDA for further analysis. 

Sometimes, the usual side effects and the patch overdose reactions might look similar. To avoid this confusion, check the recommended dose before applying the patch.  

Lidocaine Drug Interactions

Lidocaine patches are not free from drug interaction. It interacts with a minimum of 62 drugs in a moderate form. And is known to exhibit mild interaction with 28 drugs. 

Here is the list of drugs lidocaine interacts with:

  • Lomitapide
  • Eliglustat
  • Bupivacaine liposome 
  • Dofetilide 
  • Flibanserin
  • Fentanyl transdermal : 
  • Axitinib
  • Bosutinib 
  • Cobimetinib 
  • Fluvoxamine 
  • Fentanyl 
  • Fosamprenavir 
  • Fentanyl intranasal 
  • Naloxegol 
  • Pomalidomide
  • Fentanyl iontophoretic transdermal framework 
  • Fentanyl transmucosal 
  • Ivabradine 
  • Olaparib 
  • Mefloquine 
  • Pefloxacin 
  • Phenytoin 
  • Pimozide 
  • Ivacaftor 

Medication interactions always do not mean that you will experience severe illness due to this. Interaction with any drug generally lowers the effectiveness of the drug. But sometimes are seen to develop a bit of moderate illness in the patients. 

For avoiding this, inform the doctor if you are under any medication. He might then adjust the dose according to that. Or may also prescribe an alternative. 

Image by Darko Stojanovic from Pixabay

Lidocaine Patch Contraindications

Lidocaine patches may contradict your wellbeing if you are suffering from certain health conditions. Though this is applied externally, it gets absorbed in the blood. Due to this, the medicines used in it may trigger your already existing health problems. It can make things worse even with an expired lidocaine patch.  

You will notice contradictions both in the case of fresh and expired patches. So, the expired patches are not to blame for the contradictory reactions.

Tell your physician if you have the following conditions:

  • Any kind of blood disorder
  • Seizures
  • Liver problems
  • Methemoglobinemia
  • G6PD (Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase) deficiency
  • Impaired lung function
  • Sepsis
  • Anemia due to pyruvate kinase deficiencies
  • Shock

Expired medicines are always better to avoid. And the same goes for the patches. But remember that non-expired patches may also cause adverse effects. So also, you should take the contradictions into notice before using the patches. 

So, consider giving your complete health-related history to the doctor. This will save you from any sort of reactions associated with the medicine. 


Are lidocaine patches available over the counter?

Lidocaine patches are not generally available over the counter. Lidocaine, with the brand name Lidoderm, is a local prescription anesthetic. This prescription-strength medication found in patch form needs to be suggested by the doctor.

This patch contains chemicals and also shows contradictions to specific health conditions. So, using it without the consent of the doctor may lead to severe problems. 

expired lidocaine patch
Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

What are the symptoms of lidocaine patch overdose?

Wearing more patches than recommended or wearing them for longer might cause overdose symptoms. This is because it gets absorbed by the blood and may exhibit the following issues:

  • Nervousness
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Inappropriate happiness
  • Feeling numb
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow heartbeat

If the patient is having trouble breathing or has collapsed, instantly take emergency steps. Also, consider taking the patient to the hospital. 

How many lidocaine patches can I wear at once?

Follow the instruction of the doctor while you use lidocaine patches. The doctor will recommend the number of lidocaine patches to use. It also will tell you the duration of time you need to keep your patches on. It depends on the severity of your problem. 

Generally, it is recommended to apply a maximum of three patches at once. And don’t keep it for more than 12 hours per day. 

How to dispose of expired lidocaine patches?

Expired dermal patches should be disposed of with the help of DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). They hold national take-back days for this kind of disposal. In addition, they have built permanent sites for disposing of medicines. 

This is considered the most effective way to dispose of the drugs and patches. However, other drug take-back methods are also available around the year. 


It is always better to avoid expired patches, just like the medicines. They might not harm you usually. But taking any risk is not recommended. Instead, consider buying a new one if the ones at your home are out of date. 

In this article about the expired lidocaine patch, necessary information regarding them is narrated. They will help you to take the required steps in case your lidocaine patches expire. 

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