Alkalinizing Water-Soluble Local Anesthetic Solutions by Addition of Cyclodextrin

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Background and objectives.

The use of sodium bicarbonate for alkalinization of local anesthetics to improve their efficacy has some disadvantages including decreased stability of the solutions. The present study was performed to evaluate usefulness of cyclodextrins (CDs) in improving the solubility and stability of local anesthetic solutions at near physiologic pH without precipitation.


Solubility of local anesthetics with or without CDs in physiologic saline was investigated by monitoring cloudiness or precipitate formation visually and by recording absorbance at 620 nm. Interaction of anesthetic and CD was also studied spectrophotometrically using spectral change of the drugs associated with the inclusion complex formation.


Cyclodextrins improved the solubility and stability of the four local anesthetics studied (dibucaine, tetracaine, bupivacaine, and lidocaine). In the neutral pH region, the effects of the CDs were more significant with dibucaine and tetracaine, which are more hydrophobic than the other two. A type of effective CD was different for each anesthetic depending partly on the tendency to form inclusion complex with local anesthetic. The local anesthetic solutions solubilized by CDs were found to remain clear for more than 72 hours without any visible precipitation or turbidity at neutral pHs.


The improved solubility of local anesthetics by adding CD may be caused by inclusion complex formation of CD with local anesthetics. This new preparation for the alkalinized water-soluble anesthetic solutions may be useful for practical application in the clinical setting, although this awaits further study.

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