Wearing Lidocaine Patches Safely

Lidocaine patch

Lidocaine patches are a popular option for managing localized pain, providing relief by numbing the affected area. While they can be effective, it’s important to understand how to use lidocaine patches safely.

Understanding Lidocaine Patches

Lidocaine patches are medicated patches that contain lidocaine, a local anesthetic. They work by blocking nerve signals in the body, thereby reducing pain sensations in the area where the patch is applied. These patches are commonly used to treat conditions like nerve pain (neuropathy), shingles, and various types of chronic pain.

Using Lidocaine Patches Safely: Answering Common Questions

Can I Wear More Than One Lidocaine Patch At The Same Time?

Never apply more than 4 of the lidocaine 5% patches at one time. Although lidocaine patches are generally safe, exceeding recommended usage can lead to an overdose of lidocaine, which may result in serious side effects.

Can I Wear Lidocaine Patches All the time?

Typically, patches are applied for 12 hours on, followed by 12 hours off. It’s best to avoid continuous use. Prolonged exposure may lead to increased absorption of lidocaine through the skin, potentially causing systemic effects such as dizziness, confusion, or even heart problems.

Do Lidocaine Patches Cause Skin Irritation?

Some people experience localized skin reactions with prolonged used. If you’re using multiple patches or reapplying them frequently, be sure to rotate the application sites.

Learn more about the pros and cons of lidocaine patches here

Learn more about how long lidocaine patches take to start working here


Gammaitoni AR, Alvarez NA, Galer BS. Pharmacokinetics and safety of continuously applied lidocaine patches 5%. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002;59(22):2215-2220. 

Comer AM, Lamb HM. Lidocaine patch 5%. Drugs. 2000;59(2):245-251. 

“Lidocaine Transdermal Patch”, MedlinePlus, 28/9/2023, https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603026.html

About the Author

Dave Harrison, MD

Dr. Harrison is a board certified Emergency Physician with a part time appointment at San Francisco General Medical Center and is an Assistant Clinical Professor-Volunteer at the UCSF School of Medicine. Dr. Harrison attended medical school at Tufts University and completed his Emergency Medicine residency at the University of Southern California. Dr. Harrison manages the editorial process for SpineInfo.com.