Anaesthetic allergy

Reactions to local anaesthetics are often reported, but given how often they are used, most turn out not to be allergic but rather toxic (eg to parabens or sulphite preservative) or autonomic. Where allergy is confirmed, it is often of a delayed hypersensitivity type eg 24-72 hours after exposure. Beware latex allergy and C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency too. Local anaesthetics come in 2 main groups, the esters (procaine, benzocaine) and the amides (lidocaine, bupivocaine). Cross-reactivity is common among the esters but not among the amides or between the 2 groups. Neomycin sensitivity may contribute to a reaction.