Pharm 101: Prilocaine


Local anaesthetic

  • Amide local anaesthetic
  • See Pharm 101: Bupivacaine for information regarding mechanism of action of amide local anaesthetics

  • Distribution half-life 5 minutes
  • Elimination half-life 1.5 hours
  • Volume od distribution 261L
  • Clearance 2.84L/min
    • Highest clearance of amino-amide anaesthetics, reducing risk of systemic toxicity

Clinical uses
  • IV for peripheral nerve block e.g. bier’s block

Adverse effects
  • CNS toxicity:
    • Sedation
    • Visual and auditory hallucinations
    • Tongue/mouth numbness, metallic taste
    • Seizure
    • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiac toxicity (high volume blocks):
    • Arrhythmias
    • Cardiovascular collapse
    • Hypotension and arrest
  • Local toxicity: trauma, neurotoxicity
  • Methaemoglobinaemia

Further reading


Pharm 101 700

Pharmacology 101

Top 200 drugs

MBBS (UWA) CCPU Emergency Medicine Advanced Trainee based in Melbourne, Australia. Co-author of the LITFL ECG Library. Likes Ultrasound, Echo, ECGs, and anything and everything with caffeine. Part of the 2021 ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator Programme | @rob_buttner | ECG Library |

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