Menthol facilitates the skin analgesic effect of tetracaine gel

Liu Y, Ye X, Feng X, Zhou G, Rong Z, Fang C, Chen H
International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2005


The aim of this study is to observe the effect of menthol on the percutaneous penetration and skin analgesic action of tetracaine gel (T-gel). Anesthetic gels containing 4% tetracaine in carbomer vehicle with and without menthol were prepared. The menthol penetration-enhanced gel conferred significantly higher diffusion of tetracaine across full-thickness mouse skin than non-penetration-enhanced gel, in a dose-dependent manner. The inter-cellular spaces of the stratum corneum in skin treated with menthol penetration-enhanced gel became extended as compared with those in non-penetration-enhanced gel. This may suggest that menthol’s action was related to the changes of the epidermis ultra structures. An enlarged inter-cellular space, per se, would allow a better passage to tetracaine. To determine the efficacy of menthol penetration-enhanced tetracaine gel in the management of pain, a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized controlled trial (RCT) design was used. The mean verbal pain scores (VPS) were significantly lower in volunteers treated with penetration-enhanced tetracaine gel than those in volunteers receiving non-penetration-enhanced tetracaine gel or placebo. Menthol improved the analgesic efficacy of the tetracaine 4% gel in part through enhanced percutaneous permeation.


Liu Y, Ye X, Feng X, Et Al. Menthol facilitates the skin analgesic effect of tetracaine gel. Int J Pharm. 2005;305(1-2):31-36.

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