What Are Intravenous Lidocaine Infusions?

“Lidocaine infusion has been shown to be successful in controlling pain where other agents have failed. Moreover, the opioid sparing properties of lidocaine infusion added to its analgesic & antihyperalgesic properties, make lidocaine infusion a viable option for pain control in opioid dependent patients” [1]

A Brief Overview

An intravenous lidocaine infusion refers to a local anaesthetic, which is administered into a vein via a pump, over a 60 minute or so, period. Pain Specialists prescribe it to patients who experience general, long-term pain, due to its recorded beneficial results [2].

So How Do the Intravenous Lidocaine InfusionsWork?

Lidocaine infusions work to ameliorate the patient’s pain by:

1: Decreasing the spread of pain signals in the nerve fibres
2: Lessening self-generated nerve activity [2].

What Benefits Will I Gain From Having Intravenous Lidocaine Infusions?

Many patients find that their pain goes down from severe to a more manageable level. If this is the case, their Pain Doctor, may be able to decrease the number of painkillers that they normally have to take [2].

What Does the Intravenous Lidocaine Infusion Involve?

During the time the patient undergoes the lidocaine infusion, they will be carefully observed via a heart monitor. In addition to this, their blood pressure, pulse and breathing, will be periodically recorded. As long as they have not had any substantial side-effects; after the session, they will be dismissed by the medics, and will be free to go home [2].

Of note, as the treatment works over many days, a patient will not know how successful it has been for them, on the day they had the infusion [2]. Their Pain Consultant will do a follow-up appointment to ascertain how beneficial it has been, at a later date; so keeping a daily ‘Pain Diary, is an excellent idea, as it can serve as a concise record that can be shown to the Pain Consultant at each online or in-person consultation.

Are There Any Potential Side-Effects?

As the NHS states: “fortunately, serious side effects or complications are very rare, & by being continuously monitored, the chances of problems arising are minimised. However, even at the recommended dose, side effects can occur. These include dizziness, headaches, & drowsiness. If any of these side effects do occur, they usually disappear once the infusion is slowed down or stopped” [2].

Your Pain Specialist, who will have studied your medical history, and taken various other factors into account, will ensure that you are a suitable candidate for intravenous lidocaine infusions.


[1]. Kandil E, Melikman E, Adinoff B. Lidocaine Infusion: A Promising Therapeutic Approach for Chronic Pain. J Anesth Clin Res. 2017 Jan;8(1):697.

[2]. NHS Foundation Trust (2020). “Lidocaine Intravenous Patient Information.”