Comparison of tetracaine-adrenaline-cocaine (TAC) with topical lidocaine-epinephrine (TLE): efficacy and cost

Am J Emerg Med. 1995 May;13(3):315-7. doi: 10.1016/0735-6757(95)90209-0.


Topical anesthesia in the form of TAC (tetracaine, adrenaline, cocaine) solution has been used for wound repair. This pilot study was designed to determine if the topical anesthesia achieved using a mixture of lidocaine (5%) and epinephrine (1:2000) (TLE) is equivalent to the topical anesthesia obtained using a solution of tetracaine (0.5%), epinephrine (1: 2000), and cocaine (10.4%) (TAC). A prospective, randomized, double-blind trial was carried out from May 1992 to August 1992 at a community-based teaching hospital Emergency Department (ED) that receives 50,000 annual visits. Patients with facial or scalp lacerations suitable for topical anesthesia presenting to the ED were included when study physicians were in attendance. Exclusion criteria included the presence of a sensory altering substance (eg, ethanol), age younger than two years, hypertension, pregnancy, allergy to any of the study's pharmacological agents, wounds greater than six hours old, grossly contaminated wounds, and wounds longer than six centimeters. Either a TAC or TLE solution was applied to lacerations before suturing. The laceration was repaired and the patient or physician evaluated the degree of pain from the procedure by using a standardized visual pain scale. A total of 35 patients were studied. Seventeen patients were in the TLE group; 18 in the TAC group. The mean ages were compared and found to be similar (P = .40) between the two test groups. The pain scale values, the diameter of tissue blanch around laceration (halo size), and the time to laceration repair from the onset of application of anesthetic were compared and no difference was shown between the TAC and TLE groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anesthetics, Local / economics
  • Anesthetics, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cocaine / economics
  • Cocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Cost Savings
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Costs
  • Epinephrine / economics
  • Epinephrine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / economics
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tetracaine / economics
  • Tetracaine / therapeutic use*
  • Wounds and Injuries / therapy


  • Anesthetics, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Tetracaine
  • TEC solution
  • Lidocaine
  • Cocaine
  • Epinephrine