Lidocaine- A Hazardous Waste?
Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that is probably used in every healthcare facility in the country. It’s useful for minor procedures such as suturing of wounds. We all know that it’s a pharmaceutical product, but is it also a hazardous waste material?
- Lidocaine is available in various forms such as creams, gels and injections. It works by temporarily blocking the pain signals from flowing along the nerves to the brain.
- It’s useful because it doesn’t have the sedating effect of general anesthetics so the patient can remain conscious throughout the procedure.
- Substances are classified as “hazardous” if the formulation has a pH of 2 or less. By definition then, a vial containing lidocaine and epinephrine is not characterized or listed as hazardous waste because it is not corrosive. The pH of lidocaine is between 5 and 7.
- Lidocaine is considered chemically stable under standard use and storage conditions.
- It does not cause dermal irritation or corrosion. It does, however, cause temporary numbing of the area it’s in contact with.
- It also doesn’t cause any ocular irritation from normal handling. It may however cause temporary blurred vision.
- Safe disposal is however recommended as with all pharmaceutical products.
Here at MET, we specialize in the management of healthcare waste and welcome any questions you may have about the safe disposal of lidocaine and any other pharmaceutical waste.