What is procaine?

Procaine is a local anesthetic, which is primarily of historical importance. It was used in dentistry as the first means of local pain suppression during an operation.

application areas

Today, procaine is rarely used as a local anesthetic. Related drugs, such as lidocaine, have fewer side effects, fewer allergic reactions occur and, above all, they can penetrate the tissue better and faster.
They are also effective longer after a single injection.

Today the drug is still used in local and regional pain therapy. For example, nerve nodes next to the spine can be numbed (paravertebral anesthesia) and the pain can be eliminated.

In neural therapy, a scientifically unsecured alternative medicine method, one considers the tonsils to be a so-called "interference field" in the case of tonsillitis, for example, and tries to "block" it with procaine and hopes for a cure.

Another area of ​​application is the relief of ear pain, such as those that occur in otitis media, external otitis or without an apparent cause after a dive.

Dosage form of procaine

Procaine syringes

Procaine syringes are used in conventional medicine for local anesthesia before, for example, small surgical or dental interventions. To do this, the procaine is injected directly into the tissue. But they are also one of the most important drugs in neural therapy. Neural therapy is one of the alternative forms of therapy and includes local therapy with local anesthetics. In the various stages of neural therapy, for example, in segment therapy, the procaine is injected directly into the skin. This can be used for back pain or tension. The next level is advanced segment therapy. Here the procaine is injected near nerve nodes.

Read more on the subject below: Procaine syringe

Procaine tablets

Procaine tablets are only used in very rare cases and therefore do not play a role in procaine therapy in conventional medicine or neural therapy. Known side effects of the tablets are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Procaine ointment

Ointment containing procaine can be applied to the affected area if the muscles or joints are painful. Another area of ​​application can be found in severely painful scars. The active ingredients in the ointment penetrate the skin and, in addition to providing local anesthesia, can stimulate blood circulation and have anti-inflammatory effects. The ointment can also be used against itching or skin disorders such as psoriasis. The first ointment containing procaine was developed for the treatment of hemorrhoids and it has been shown that regular application of the ointment in the area of ​​the anus led to a reduction in hemorrhoids.

Find out more about lidocaine as an ointment here.

Procaine capsules

Procaine capsules are used in alternative medical aging therapy, which is, however, controversial. It is believed that by taking Procaine capsules regularly, illnesses and ailments of old age can be reduced or even avoided entirely. These complaints include old age hearing loss or reduced memory performance in old age. There is no scientific evidence for this. Side effects of the capsules are rarely headaches or a feeling of restlessness.

Procaine base infusion and its side effects

The procaine base infusion is a further development of the therapy with procaine. Procaine and the base sodium hydrogen carbonate are added to table salt and administered to the patient through the vein. The additional administration of a base improves the availability of procaine in the tissue and thus its effectiveness. In addition, the procaine is not broken down as quickly. As a result, in addition to the anesthetic effect of procaine, the anti-inflammatory and vasodilating effects are even more pronounced.

In addition, the sodium hydrogen carbonate prevents the procaine from acting too strongly on the receptors in the brain, so that the drowsiness as a side effect is reduced. In this way, larger amounts of procaine can be given. In addition to the supporting functions, the addition of the base also has the effect of neutralizing tissue that has become acidic due to chronic pain.

The therapy with the procaine base infusion is carried out over several sessions. A session takes about an hour. During this time, the patient is continuously monitored by trained staff. The procedure is considered to have few side effects. In some cases, dizziness occurs due to a drop in blood pressure, drowsiness or headache, which can be influenced by the speed of the infusion.

Read more on the topic: Procaine base infusion

Mode of action

Procaine works like all classic ones Local anesthetics on the nerve at the site of its administration. In the nerve cells, precisely those "channels" are blocked for some time that are necessary for transmission, among other things. of the pain signal are responsible - the Sodium channels.

Normally the mineral "sodium" would flow through this in the event of a pain event (Depolarization), the other cells on the way to the brain would also be stimulated to depolarize and ultimately this depolarization would arrive in the cells in the brain and would be perceived as "pain" if wired accordingly.

But now the sodium channels are blocked: the brain no longer receives a signal for the duration of the effect and the affected area is perceived as numb.

When should procaine not be used?

Procaine should not be used known hypersensitivity against one of the ingredients of the drug, as well as with the blood pigment synthesis disorder (hepatic porphyria) or with known pseudocholinesterase deficiency.

In the pregnancy the drug should not be taken if possible.

Find out more about alternatives on our website: Local anesthetics in pregnancy

The ear drops should not be with Skin injuries in the ear canal or a damaged eardrum.
Arterial administration and administration close to the spinal cord should also be avoided.

Side effects

Side effects occur mainly when used as an injection and in relation to the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system, but are rare: Procaine has the effect of stimulating the heartbeat and heartbeat, which, however, does not lead to problems with blood pressure if the correct dose is used. ECG changes are also possible.

If there is a sudden drop in blood pressure, an overdose should be considered. Side effects in the area of ​​the central nervous system are a discomfort around the mouth area, a disturbance of consciousness or a seizure.

In rare cases, procaine can cause an allergic reaction. Therefore, procaine must not be used if the patient is known to have hypersensitivity reactions to other drugs. An allergic reaction can result in hives, swelling of the tissue due to water retention, cramping of the airways or shortness of breath. Reddening of the skin, itching and blistering, as well as swelling and bruising have also been reported.

Applied correctly as a drop, the product is well tolerated. But even as an injection, the treatment is almost always uncomplicated.

Read more on the subject at: Side effects of procaine


Procaine can make certain antibiotics less effective (Sulfonamides).
On the other hand, certain drugs are used for the purpose of relaxing the muscles (non-depolarizing Relaxants) to prolong the effect, as well as drugs that stimulate the autonomic nervous system (cholinesterase inhibitors such as physostigmine) to increase the effect of procaine.


The oldest use of procaine is local anesthesia. Today procaine is mainly used in dentistry. In alternative medicine, procaine is preferably used in neural therapy. In addition to the numbing effect, other therapeutic effects are also used here. At the cellular level, procaine has an anti-inflammatory effect, which means that procaine is also used as a local injection in neural therapy for inflammation. In addition, the injection of procaine has a vasodilating effect. This effect is used in pain therapy with procaine. Further effects of procaine in alternative medicine, some of which have not been conclusively proven, are also described.

Read more about: Local anesthesia at the dentist

Where can you buy procaine?

Procaine can be obtained from pharmacies or mail order pharmacies. Doctors also often have procaine solutions in stock in their practices and can, if necessary, treat patients on site without having to buy the required ampoules from the pharmacy beforehand.

Is procaine also available without a prescription?

One to two percent procaine solution in ampoules for syringes or ready-made syringes can be obtained without a prescription in pharmacies or mail-order pharmacies. Procaine-containing ear drops are also available without a prescription. All other dosage forms as well as higher-dose procaine solutions must be prescribed by a doctor.

History of procaine

More than a hundred years ago, today's procaine was discovered by the German chemist Alfred Einhorn and given the name Novocaine. The consonance of the name with cocaine is no coincidence.
For twenty years cocaine was the most important local anesthetic and was replaced by novocaine (the "new (= novo) cocaine") at the turn of the century.